Parents and children have been urged to be cautious when swimming to cool off during the heatwave in Cape Town after 14 people drowned over the festive season.
A total of 13 people drowned at sea during that period and one in a swimming pool.
There were also 51 “non-fatal” incidents in which people suffered respiratory impairment after they were submerged.
“While the festive season has now wrapped up, the reality is that we are in the midst of a heatwave, which means that numbers at our swimming pools are likely to increase in the afternoons when school lets out,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health Zahid Badroodien.
“I appeal to parents and children to be extremely cautious. Our facilities are meant to provide a reprieve from the summer heat, and we want everyone to enjoy them, and to do so safely.”
A total of 85% of the fatal incidents involved male victims, most of them in their teens, and 72.5% of the non-fatal incidents also involved males. Children under the age of 12 accounted for nearly 35% of the victims in the non-fatal incidents.
There were also mass rescues from riptides, which pull people out to the backline of the shore.
Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato thanked all lifeguards and emergency workers for helping to keep people safe during the peak festive season.
He also extended condolences to families who lost loved ones through drownings.