Two miss­ing, feared drowned, at Eastern Beach

Daily Dispatch - - Front Page - MALIBONGWE DAYIMANI CRIME RE­PORTER mal­i­bong­[email protected]­patch.co.za

Two col­lege stu­dents are feared to have drowned at the East Lon­don's Eastern Beach on a windy Thurs­day af­ter­noon. No life­guards were on duty. It seems the sec­ond stu­dent drowned while try­ing to res­cue the first one.

Buf­falo City Metro spokesper­son Samkelo Ng­wenya said: “I can con­firm that our guards at Eastern Beach were threat­ened [by strik­ing mu­nic­i­pal work­ers] and have re­ported to us.

“We tried to force them to go back to work but ob­vi­ously they couldn't risk their lives.

“All we hope for is a speedy res­o­lu­tion to the strike con­flict.”

Samwu cam­paign con­vener Zola Ca­pu­capu de­nied the al­le­ga­tions that his union mem­bers chased away life guards. “The statis­tics will show you that peo­ple die at that beach ev­ery year, more es­pe­cially at this time of year.

“Why are we be­ing blamed now? We never threat­ened peo­ple.”

Ng­wenya, how­ever, called on Samwu lead­er­ship to in­ter­vene and “quell some of their mem­bers for putting peo­ple's lives at risk”.

Paramedics and search and res­cue po­lice of­fi­cers at the beach told the Dis­patch that two peo­ple had been res­cued from drown­ing at the same beach by two tourists on Wed­nes­day and a child was res­cued at Gonu­bie beach by surfers.

Once pulled out of the wa­ter, the child was re­sus­ci­tated by lo­cal paramedics.

Ng­wenya said Bonza Bay, Na­hoon and Gonu­bie beaches had life­guards in place and it was un­for­tu­nate that the crowded Eastern Beach was af­fected.

Ng­wenya said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity would dis­patch a strong con­tin­gent of sea­sonal life­guards hired for the busy fes­tive sea­son with the hope of pre­vent­ing drown­ings.

Aus­tralian tourist Re­becca Bushell, 20, said: “I was sit­ting on the grass and all of a sud­den I saw lots of peo­ple look­ing at the sea. I ran to save the two peo­ple but by the time I got there they were gone.”

I only did what is ex­pected of any per­son Sankara Yu­mungu Pho­tog­ra­pher

She ar­rived in East Lon­don on Wed­nes­day and hours later saved a man at the beach.

The Univer­sity of Le­ices­ter stu­dent said: “I pulled some­one out of the wa­ter with an­other guy help­ing me.

“The bather was drown­ing, wav­ing his arms.”

Con­golese pho­tog­ra­pher Sankara Yu­mungu, who makes a liv­ing snap­ping shots of peo­ple at Eastern Beach and who helped Bushell, said: “I only did what is ex­pected of any per­son, to save some­one in trou­ble. I am not a hero.

“I haven't seen life­guards here for a long time,” he added.

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