Durban – A search is underway for a person who might have been involved in a deadly drowning incident at Kosi Bay, the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) and the iSimangaliso Wetland Authority said on Saturday.
Friday’s drowning incident has already claimed three lives and left three injured.
The government conservation organisation said that it had received unconfirmed reports that a seventh person might have gone missing during the incident at the Kosi Mouth beach.
Although, no-one has reported a specific person as missing, some people on the scene said that they believed another person had been involved in the incident.
EKZNW staff and police were thus combing the area on Saturday as a precaution.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park CEO Andrew Zaloumis said that the mouth of the Kosi Lake System was packed with larger than expected crowds of between 2 000 and 3 000 at the time of the drownings.
“The unexpectedly large crowds at Kosi Mouth severely overstrained the limited facilities,” he said.
“There were…three confirmed cases of drowning when bathers got into difficulties on the incoming tide in the early afternoon.
The victims were Nomvelo Malandela, 12, of the Thelizolo area, Sibonelo Sibiya, 14, of the Thengani area, and Siphe Maphanga ,14, of the KwaMshudu area.
Their bodies were recovered within hours.
Two teenage boys, aged 19 and 17, and a girl, aged 13, are recovering in hospital after also being overcome by the incoming tide.
The very rough 4×4 access track from the Kosi Mouth beach to the main road in the area hindered the speed at which the victims could be taken to hospital.
The girl remains in critical condition.
Up to 80 000 revellers
EKZNWand the iSimangaliso Wetland Authority said that an estimated 70 000 to 80 000 people flocked to various beaches in the wetland park on January 1.
“About 35 000 to 40 000 people celebrated the day on the iSimangaliso’s St Lucia beaches.”
About 25 000 to 30 000 people partied at Sodwana Bay and about 1 500 at Cape Vidal.
“[Between] 5 000 to 6 000 people flocked to the usually very quiet Manzengwenya.”
Beach monitors and lifeguards assisted several people who got into difficulties in the surf at Sodwana Bay and St Lucia.