Three people were killed and more than a dozen others injured when a monster “freak wave” struck a packed beach in South Africa’s coastal city of Durban Sunday.
Emergency Medical Services spokesman Njabulo Dlungele said the wave slammed a group of swimmers against a pier at Durban’s North Beach around 5 p.m. local time.
“Unfortunately three people, including a teenager, were declared deceased at the scene,” Dlungele added.
The EThekwini Municipality said that those who died were swept out to sea by rip currents and drowned.
At least 17 people were taken to area hospitals to be treated for injuries sustained during the incident. The patients were said to be in serious or critical condition.
More than 35 lifeguards participated in rescue efforts, attending to more than 100 people affected by the massive wave, according to the municipality.
North Beach was closed in the aftermath of the deadly incident, and an investigation has been launched, local officials said.
Durban is usually a hive of activity around the holiday season, attracting local and international tourists to its beaches.
This year’s festive season is expected to attract many travelers eager to return to the beaches after the years when COVID-19 lockdowns and precautions reduced tourism in Durban.
The port city on South Africa’s eastern Indian Ocean coast has been gradually reopening its beaches after some were closed due to high levels of E. coli following devastating floods in parts of the KwaZulu-Natal province earlier this year.
With Post wires