A man drowned at Margate main beach on Tuesday.
Lifeguards, NSRI, SAPS Search and Rescue members and paramedics were on the scene.
The man, believed to be a holidaymaker from the Free State, was retrieved but was declared dead by paramedics, according to police spokesman, Sergeant Sibu Ncane.
Police have opened a case.
SAPS said in a statement, “Earlier today, members from Port Shepstone Search and Rescue, Medevac, NSRI Shelly Beach and Emithonjaneni lifeguards were called out to Margate Beach for a report of multiple people swept out by a rip current.
“On scene, a 47 yr W/M (holiday maker from Freestate) were pulled out the surf after he went into the surf to rescue a A/M that was reported to be in distress. CPR was initiated by Medevac Paramedics but sadly [he] was declared [dead] after resuscitation attempt.
“Medevac’s vessel was then launched to search for unconfirmed report that another person might be missing in the surf which yielded negative results search was called off as there was no confirmation that anybody else drowned or was reported missing. Body was handed over to Margate SAPS members on scene.”
Adding to the tragedy is the fact that a bathing ban is in place. The Ray Nkonyeni Joint Operation Centre, established to put measures in place to fight the spread of the coronavirus, last Friday announced wide-ranging safety regulations, including banning bathing at all South Coast beaches.
According to a bystander, lifeguards tried to get bathers out of the water, but were ignored. Some, according to the bystander, verbally abused the lifeguards, although the person stressed that no assumptions should be made that the man who passed away fell under them. The bystander expressed condolences to the man’s family.
People have continued to swarm to beaches following the sanctions imposed by the municipality.
The Ray Nkonyeni Joint Operation Centre later on Tuesday took a further step by closing all beaches, and warned that “…any person failing to adhere to this decision may be prosecuted and if found guilty be liable to imprisonment not exceeding six months or a fine or both the fine and imprisonment.”