The police search followed a massive rescue operation involving the NSRI, police, traffic police, nature conservation staff and emergency medical teams on Friday.
The 11-year-old boy was among a group of around 60 pupils from Archie Mbolekwa Primary School on a school outing at Kenton Main Beach today.
He went missing in the surf near the Kariega river mouth after trying to rescue a fellow pupil who had got into difficulty.
Sea Rescue Communications Officer Craig Lambinon said in a media statement this afternoon that NSRI Port Alfred duty crew, EC Government Health Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and the SA Police Services, Traffic Services and Nature Conservation officers had responded to a call at 12.03pm today.
Lambinon said the NSRI Port Alfred volunteer sea rescue duty crew responded to reports of a drowning at Kenton.
"On arrival on the scene it was found that a female learner, aged 11, had gotten into difficulty in rip currents and a fellow male learner, aged 11, had reportedly gone into the surf to try to assist her," he said.
Lambinon said bystanders, whose names are not known, had helped the girl out of the water.
The boy remained missing in the surf, however.
Lambinon said the girl was treated by EMS paramedics and had been taken to hospital in an ambulance. She was in a serious but stable condition.
She was receiving further treatment and was under observation for secondary drowning symptoms.
"Despite an extensive search, no sign of the missing 11-year-old boy has been found. Police and a police dive unit have taken over the search operation," Lambinon said.
He said the NSRI estimated there were at least 60 pupils, accompanied by teachers from Archie Mbolekwa, on the beach.
"Some children were swimming when the girl got into difficulty,” he said.
Lambinon said the children’s difficulties were likely to be as a result of rip currents.
“The missing boy had reportedly gone into the surf to try to assist before disappearing," Lambinon said.
Archie Mbolekwa Principal Zola Motlabane told Grocott's Mail he’d had to miss the outing due to other commitments.
The children were accompanied by other teachers, he said.
By 5pm today, Motlabane said he had not been informed about the incident.
"I have not heard anything yet," he said.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant Luvuyo Mjekula confirmed on Saturday 8 November that police divers were still looking for the child.
Police believe it is unlikely he will be found alive.
Mjekula said the girl was rescued and resuscitated by a bystander and rushed to Port Alfred hospital for further treatment.
Mjekula said the police would open an inquest docket once the child’s body has been found.
Now read the NSRI's warning about Spring Tide rip currents this week: