The search for a young boy who went missing while swimming in the sea at St Francis Bay in the Eastern Cape is continuing, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said on Saturday.
NSRI St Francis Bay duty crew responded to Main Beach just before 5pm on Friday following reports of a drowning in progress, NSRI St Francis Bay station commander Sarah Smith said.
The sea rescue craft Spirit of St Francis II was launched and NSRI rescue swimmers responded directly to the scene. Private care ambulance services and the South African Police Service (SAPS) also responded, she said.
On arrival on the scene an extensive search commenced for a 12-year-old boy, believed to be a local, reported by eyewitnesses to have last been seen floating face down in the water after reportedly being swept out to sea by rip currents about 20 minutes prior to the NSRI arriving on the scene.
NSRI crew conducted a shoreline search while seven NSRI crew and rescue swimmers deployed into the surf conducted a sweeping line free dive search in the surfline. A search was also conducted from the sea rescue craft in the breakers, but despite the extensive search no sign of the boy had been found.
Police had opened an investigation and a police dive unit and K9 search and rescue were continuing in an ongoing search operation, Smith said.
– African News Agency (ANA)