A friend of two 11-year-old boys who drowned at an Adelaide beach says he doesn't want to go back there after witnessing his mates being washed away by waves.
The boys from Adelaide's northern suburbs, named in reports as Frank Ndikuriyo and Thierry Niyomwungere, were among five children who got into difficulty north of the Glenelg jetty about 6pm on New Year's Day.
Lifesavers say the group were playing on a rocky breakwater about 500m from the patrolled area before the tragedy unfolded.
One of the surviving children, Bonaventure Irakoze, says strong waves pulled them out to sea.
"When we tried to get out ... the wave kept on coming faster and heavier," he told Channel Seven on Saturday.
"When I got out, I went to go call the lifesavers.
"Thierry, he was on the rocks. But when the waves came, they took him out.
"When I looked back, I saw Thierry. He was treading water, but then he kept on panicking that he was going to drown.
"I don't want to go back to the beach."
Frank's father, Etienne Ndikuriyo, said his son was a happy boy who was loved by everyone.
"He liked playing soccer, singing," he told the Nine Network.
"He had a lot of friends."
Lifesavers rescued three children, but Frank and Thierry were missing.
One was found at the northern end of the breakwater, and the other was found by a member of the public about 100m away.
Ambulance crews and lifesavers worked to revive the children, but one of the boys died at the scene.
The other was pronounced dead on arrival at the Women's and Children's Hospital.
The boys' families reportedly moved from Burundi about 10 years ago.
Surf Life Saving SA emergency operations manager Andrew Bedford said beach users could talk to lifesavers before entering the water, or visit the state's beach safety websites to access information.
"It's not a normal place you would swim," Mr Bedford told AAP of where the incident happened.
"We encourage people to swim between the flags."
Lifesavers will talk to council about signage in the area.
"We will certainly chat to council this week and provide them with any advice that we can to assist them to improve signage, if that is necessary in the area," Mr Bedford said.
City of Holdfast Bay Mayor Stephen Patterson said council would assist police with their investigation.
"While the City of Holdfast Bay's elected members, staff and community come to terms with yesterday's events, we extend our heartfelt sympathy to the family affected by this tragic loss, and to the people who witnessed the events as they unfolded," he said in a statement on Saturday.
Mr Patterson also commended emergency services and lifesavers.
Lifesavers involved in the mission have been debriefed and offered counselling.
South Australian president of the Association of the Burundians Community Modeste Hatungimana said the boys were talented soccer players and singers, who sang together at the Amazing Grace Gospel Church.
"These kids were people who had very bright futures," he told The Advertiser.
The two friends would be farewelled in a joint funeral, he said.