Durban attracts revellers in their thousands over the New Year period Wiki Commons

A woman carrying a British passport has been found dead near a popular public beach in South Africa. A lifeguard found the woman, who was 31, in the bushes by a casino near the beach in Durban, a city on the country's east coast popular amongst tourists, on a busy Saturday night.

The cause of death has not yet been revealed, and Durban police have confirmed that they are currently conducting a post-mortem. According to South African news agency News 24, this is standard procedure for any case in which the reasons for death are not immediately obvious.

Bennie Mthethwa, a lifeguard at the Pirates Surf Life Saving Club, told News 24 that he had been on duty in the lifeguard tower late on Saturday night keeping an eye on festive night swimmers, when a colleague found the body in the bushes next to the Suncoast Casino.

He said: ''I grabbed a lifesaving pack and ran down. As soon as we realised she was dead we called the police and other authorities. I didn't stay too long – I left it to police and I had to go back on patrol.''

The woman has not yet been named, but British authorities have been informed.