VAAL DAM – Saturday 29th October 2011. Six rescued and in a separate incident a father and son trapped on Island:
At approximately 17h00 on Saturday 29th October our Vaal Dam volunteer crew were called out following eye-witness reports of a small yacht capsized on Vaal Dam near Deneysville, opposite the Vaalprive guest resort. There were three people on-board, a 2 year old male, a 7 year old female and their father.
A husband and wife, camping on the Vaal Dam banks, who witnessed the small yacht capsize raised the alarm.
Our NSRI crew launched the rescue boat HARVEY’S FIBERGLASS and a private boat SKINRAY, which was on the water nearby at the time, diverted to respond to the scene. Metsimaholo Fire and Rescue Services also responded.
On arrival our rescue crews were met by pandemonium on the water.
It appears that an Argentinian family, on holiday in South Africa and staying at Vaalprive, were having a picnic on the banks of the Vaal. The father and two children had launched the small sailing craft and when they capsized, about 100 meters off-shore, another 3 members of the family, launched paddle-ski’s to go to their rescue.
The wind was gusting up to 40 knots South Westerly, with a thunderstorm approaching, and the winds were too strong for the paddle-ski’s.
The father was found hanging onto the capsized hull of the Gypsy. Two of the paddle-skiers had managed to pluck the two children from the water but all three paddle-ski’s, including the one that the mother was on were being blown across the dam in the strong winds.
Our rescue boat HARVEY’S FIBERGLASS and our boat STINGRAY rescued all 6 people from the water. The small yacht and all 3 paddle-ski’s were also recovered.
All 6 people survived because they were all wearing life-jackets.
The toddler and the little girl were both plucked from the water by their family friends on paddle-ski’s only to land up being swept across the dam by strong winds. When the children and their mother were taken safely onto our sea rescue craft they all burst into tears from the relief of being saved.
Once safely ashore our medics and the Metsimaholo Fire and Rescue Services paramedics assessed the family and their friends and they were treated for shock but required no further medical assistance.
Then at approximately 17h55 on Saturday 29th October our the Vaal Dam crew were called out again for a father and son trapped on an Island near Frankfort.
The father and his son, and a friend of the father, were fishing on small rubber-canoe’s at Pinloop, near the Klip River, when the wind blew them across the dam. They managed to paddle to the Island, at a barely accessible area of the dam. Although being safe on the island they were unable to leave because of the strong wind, and they needed help.
Our rescue resources were activated to respond but just as suddenly the wind dropped and by the time our rescue crews were only half way to the scene the friend called us to confirm that both had reached the safety of mainland.
They are believed to be from Johannesburg.