I got a call at 16:45 from a work colleague’s son who was at the scene of a drowning at Pollock Beach, Port Elizabeth. The NSRI were busy conducting a thorough search for the missing 12 year old boy.
I arranged authorization for the Search and Rescue flight from our East London headquarters, and was airborne at 17:12 to collect the rescue paramedics from the Metro base. We arrived on scene at Pollock beach at 17:18. An initial fly past of the area was completed before landing at the NSRI base at 17:30. I got a more accurate description from the NSRI as to where the 12 year old boy had gone missing. I conducted another search, this time lower and in the area that the boy had gone missing. The rough waters and poor visibility into the water made the search very difficult.
The second search revealed nothing, and the boy is presumed drowned.
A UITENHAGE man’s desperate attempts to save his 12-year- old nephew from drowning in rough surf at Pollok Beach ended tragically yesterday.
Kowan Maart, who had been playing in the shallows, was pulled underwater by the strong current and washed out to sea as his uncle, who tried frantically several times to grab hold of him, was knocked over repeatedly by the waves.
Kowan is missing presumed drowned.
Coastal rescue experts attributed the recent surge in drownings to the rough and choppy sea conditions combined with strong rip currents and wind.
Kowan was playing in the shallows, less than 5m from his uncle, Gurson McCarthy, when the tragedy occurred.
A distraught McCarthy, 29, described his nephew’s drowning yesterday as “life-shattering”.
“I was standing in the water about 5m from him when he just went under,” McCarthy said soon after the tragedy. He was still shaking from shock.
“I tried so hard to get to him, but the waves were just too big and kept on knocking me back.
“The lifeguards saw that we were in trouble and ran into the water to assist, but Kowan was already under the water.”
The lifeguards swam around searching for Kowan for hours after he disappeared but strong currents and rough seas hampered the search.
“I am totally shattered,” McCarthy said, fighting to hold back the tears. “I tried to save him but just could not get there. It is going to haunt me.”
East Cape Coastal Rescue spokesman John Fletcher said his team, together with Summerstrand lifesavers and the National Sea Rescue Institute, launched a full-scale search for Kowan but had to call off the search two hours later, at 4pm, due to the rough sea conditions and strong currents.
“The police dive rescue unit will launch a search at 6am [today],” he said.