12 July 2005

False Bay beach too dangerous, says NSRI

A 23-year-old man drowned on Tuesday at Monwabisi Beach on the False Bay coast. The NSRI said more people drowned at this beach than at any other beach in the area, with five drownings having been recorded in one day.

Mangezi Tiking was swimming when the tide pulled him out to sea. His brother, assisted by two unidentified men, pulled his body from the water.

According to Vaughn Second, NSRI station commander of Station 16, which is 7km from Monwabisi Beach, more than 50 people have drowned at the beach in the past 15 years.

Second said the area had been made dangerous by the construction of a wall when the entertainment area was established next to the beach.

"They thought they were building a wall to create a calm cove, but it has made the beach very dangerous." Second said the wall affected the natural flow of the sea and created a dangerous current that washes swimmers out to sea during high tide.

"We will not risk a swimmer (to rescue someone) on this beach, it is too dangerous. We only use boats here, but by the time we get there, the victim has usually died."

Second said it takes NSRI Station 16 about 15 minutes to get their boat to the beach. "Usually we send the boat out and then drive down here. Most of the time we tell the boat to turn around halfway as the victim has already died."

Second said another problem was that there were no boards with emergency numbers on them so calls for help were routed via the police and fire brigade.

"This drowning happened at 11am and we only got the call at 12.51pm," he said.

Gert Bam, director of social development for the City of Cape Town, said that beaches and resorts had recently been put under his jurisdiction.

Bam would not comment on the drowning because at the time of going to press he had not yet received the medical report. However he said that Monwabisi Beach was "not an isolated case of excessive drowning".

He said people drowned for various reason on many beaches and it was "not true" that Monwabisi Beach claimed more lives than other beaches.

He said the city council had investigated the wall at Monwabisi Beach and was in the process of analysing the report.

Source: www.iol.co.za


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