Two missing, feared drowned, at Eastern Beach
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.