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As the search for the two missing boys who were swept into the sea on Sunday continues, the possibility has arisen that vandalism could have played its part in the tragedy.
Five boys were playing on a makeshift raft in the Black River canal and at about 16:00 the Table Bay National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) received a call informing them the boys had been swept out to sea.
All five apparently jumped off the raft and tried to swim to shore, but only three made it.
According to Paarden Eiland City Improvement District manager Patricia Tallant, a debris trap near the mouth of the canal might have prevented the calamity.
These nets span the canal outlet to prevent debris washing into the sea or up the canal.
Another one was apparently also stolen recently, so the debris trap is ineffective.
According to local NSRI station commander Pat van Eyssen, a security guard spotted the children playing under the Marine Drive bridge, and later noticed them being swept out to sea.
It is unclear whether the makeshift raft, believed to be empty barrels, came from higher up the canal. If so, the the debris trap might have played a part in preventing the barrels from reaching the mouth of the canal, where the children found it.
Van Eyssen says the origin of the raft will form part of the investigation.
“The kids shouldn’t have been there in the first place,” says Tallant.
“At least twice a month our patrolmen must warn a child not to swim in there. In the summer people swim in there almost every day! None of them seem to realise how rough the water is when the tide comes in.”
The canal is also often used for fishing or as an escape route for criminals.
Tallant says “scrap merchants” regularly go into the canal to remove something they can use.
“Maybe the canal should be fenced off, but that will be expensive,” she says.
“It’s a pity we have to wait for tragedy to strike before we focus on these type of measures,” she concludes.
On Sunday the NSRI’s volunteer sea rescue duty crew launched a sea rescue craft and vehicle after receiving the call.
Provincial government EMS and rescue, the Red Cross AMS Skymed rescue helicopter, police, a police diving unit, Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services and Cape Town Fire and Rescue divers, Life Care Paramedic Response and ER24 ambulance services responded. “The three survivors were transported to hospital by EMS ambulance in stable condition for observation for secondary drowning. They were accompanied in the care of police and police trauma counsellors,” Van Eyssen says.
Despite an extensive search, no sign of the two missing children have been found and police are continuing an ongoing search.
***DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED IN TYGERBURGER, A CAPE TOWN BASED MEDIA24 COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER. IT MAY NOT BE DUPLICATED WITHOUT ACCREDITING THE SOURCE – TYGERBURGER, MEDIA24.***
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