Originally, reports conflicted, varying between children, teenagers and young women. Apparently 4 people tried to cross the Knysna Estuary at low tide in the vicinity of Cearn Drive (which is around the corner from Green Hole on the way to the beach at Bollard Bay). Apparently the placidity of the water was deceptive as they got caught in a rip which resulted in one survivor and the tragedy.
There is currently no evidence to suggest that adult supervisors had been drinking, and this does not imply the race of the children (because all life is sacred), but the picnic spot at Green Hole has become locally infamous for excessive drinking despite consumption there being illegal [i mention this because, with the last child drowning, authorities struggled to find the adult supervisors].
Knysna, for a small town of only 68 000, has had poor luck with drownings as 15 children died in the Rheenendal school bus crash in 2011. Last Sunday, Dec 15, a man was found drowned in Rheenendal. And, in November, only 6 weeks ago, an 8-year-old girl was found floating face-down off the shore of Leisure Isle.
UPDATE 20 DECEMBER: The situation is even worse as the ages of the girls are now said to be 8, 9 and 10. The 25-year old who accompanied them is still in hospital. As with the drowning in November, authorities battled to find the parents. The kids were walking in shallow water when they fell into the deep drop-off into the channel. A rip then pulled them out. None knew how to swim. An NSRI swimmer and 2 Municipal lifeguards (from Bollard Bay, several hundreds metres away) found them floating 300m off shore, just before the Heads which leads into the sea. They gave them CPR all the way to the hospital but to no avail.