On 19 August at 17h24 Sea Rescue Knysna volunteers were activated following a reports of two paddlers in Knysna Lagoon being swept, by the outgoing tide, towards the Knysna Heads on 2 small sea kayaks.
“While we were responding to the base we could see both men had been separated from each other in strong currents and they were both in the water and hanging onto their kayaks while being swept out towards the Knysna Heads.
“Our sea rescue Knysna volunteers launched our rescue craft Jaytee III and found one man, 26 year old Neels van T Hover. From Eindhoven, Netherlands, on rocks in the channel on the lagoon side of the Knysna Heads and the second man, Diego Elfink, 20, from Lelystad, Netherlands, had been swept out of the Knysna Heads and was found, about to be washed up on rocks, on the Western side of the Knysna Heads in 3.5 metre breaking surf.
“Our sea rescue craft reached Diego as he was about to be swept onto rocks. It appears that he had no knowledge of our presence when we grabbed him and hauled him aboard our rescue craft as although he was suffering from severe hypothermia and suffering from near drowning symptoms he showed startled surprise to suddenly find himself inside our rescue craft.
“We estimate that had we reached him seconds later he may have been smashed against the rocks by the heavy surf.
“Both men, severely hypothermic and suffering near drowning symptoms, were treated on-board our rescue craft and brought to our sea rescue base in Knysna where an ambulance transported both men to hospital in stable but serious conditions.
“Diego remained in hospital for observation throughout the night and Neels was not admitted to hospital and was released following treatment at the hospital.
“Both of their small sea kayaks were recovered by sea rescue.
“Our rescue crew is commended for their efforts today.
“It appears that they had arrived in Knysna during the day and had immediately gone for a paddle but were both swept towards the heads by the strong outgoing tide.
“They are holidaying in South Africa together.”