Police and NSRI volunteers from Jeffreys Bay have been searching since yesterday for a 12 year-old girl from Humansdorp who disappeared under water while wading in the lagoon between Paradise Beach and Aston Bay yesterday afternoon.
Despite an extensive search that included an helicopter search, police divers and NSRI volunteers wading in the lagoon all afternoon no sign of the girl was found yesterday and the search was abandoned at 8 pm but continued this morning.
Rieghard Janse van Rensburg, NSRI Jeffreys Bay station commander, said at 2 pm, NSRI Jeffreys Bay duty crew were activated following reports of a drowning in progress in the lagoon at the Seekoei River.
“NSRI Jeffreys Bay rescue swimmers responded directly to the scene and our sea rescue vehicle, the SAP, local lifeguards, Traffic Services, Private Care ambulance services and EC Government Health EMS responded.
It was discovered that the girl went missing iin the lagoon when she and another 12 year old ran into trouble while playing. “The lagoon has shallow and deep sections consistently and it appears that they were wading in shallow water which suddenly got deeper and neither girl can swim,” van Rensburg said.
When they suddenly found themselves in a deep section , one girl had managed to get back to shallower water but the other disappeared under water.
“They are part of a church group of children, parents and church elders, from Humansdorp, that were at the Seekoei Nature Reserve camp site at the lagoon for the day.”
The girl who survived was taken to hospital for observation by EMS ambulance, and then released.
“NSRI rescue swimmers formed a sweeping line search in the lagoon to begin a search, wading in the lagoon shallows and free diving in the deeper sections, joined by concerned members of the public eager to assist and the emergency services that responded assisted conducting searches along the banks of the lagoon.”
A sea rescue Jeffreys Bay volunteer is also a police pilot and he volunteered his private fixed wing aeroplane to assist in the search – so accompanied by NSRI spotters an air search was conducted.
“Later, after still no sign of the child could be found, police divers joined in the search but despite the extensive air, water and shoreline search by 8 pm, with no sign of the child being found, the search was suspended,” van Rensurg said.
From 5 am this morning divers were scuba diving in the continued search. Police trauma counsellors are assisting the family and police have opened an investigation.
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