National SUNDAY 25th DECEMBER 2011. Incidents: East London, Wilderness, Richards Bay:
Geoff McGregor, NSRI East London station commander, said:
At 09h55 on Sunday, 25th December NSRI East London duty crew were activated following reports of a drowning in progress at Morgan Bay, approximately 40 kilometers North East of East London, on the Eastern Cape coastline.
NSRI volunteer sea rescue duty crewman, Andrew Keil, nearby to the scene at the time, was activated and Metro EMS, a Metro EMS helicopter, the SA Police Services and Aldersons ambulance service were activated.
On arrival it was found that Kathleen Bradfield, 35, of Bloemfontein, had been swept out to sea by strong rip-currents made worse by the Lagoon, which normally does not flow into the sea, now flowing into the sea after the spring high tide had breached the Lagoon wall, but her brother had managed to rescue her out of the surf.
Andrew began treatment on the woman, who was in a serious condition, and on their arrival on-scene paramedics took over treatment. She has been airlifted to hospital, by the Metro EMS helicopter, in a stable but serious condition.
See Paul Hartigan’s comment below.
Hennie Niehaus, NSRI Wilderness station commander, said:
At 11h16 on Sunday, 25th December NSRI Wilderness volunteers were activated following reports of two children, a boy and girl, both aged approximately 13, being swept out to sea at Victoria Bay.
Lifeguards, on duty at the beach, responded and NSRI activated our sea rescue craft SERENDIPITY and our DISCOVERY rescue runner.
The SA Police Services, Metro EMS and the Metro EMS Skymed helicopter were activated.
On arrival we found that lifeguards had rescued both patients from the water. The boy had sunk beneath the sea surface when lifeguards had reached him but the lifeguards had managed to successfully rescue both children bringing them to shore and treatment was administered on-scene by Metro EMS paramedics before both were airlifted by the Metro EMS Skymed helicopter to hospital. The girl was in a stable condition and the boy in a stable but serious condition and resuscitation efforts were continued in the helicopter on the male en route to hospital.
It was not clear at the time where the children are from.
Dorian Robertson, NSRI Richards Bay station commander, said:
At 12h43 on Sunday, 25th December NSRI Richards Bay volunteer sea rescue duty crew, on station at the time doing routine equipment checks, were called out following peoples screams from the nearby Bay Hall recreational area, which is a mere 500 meters from our sea rescue base, indicating a drowning in progress.
One of our NSRI rescue swimmers, Jaco van der Walt, ran to the scene while we activated our sea rescue vehicle as well as also Netcare 911 ambulance services, the SA Police Services and Umhlatuze Fire and Rescue Services.
On arrival Jaco found bystanders helping two small children out of the water and a third child lying face down and still in the water. Jaco leapt into the water and rescued the small child and once ashore immediately commenced Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation efforts after he found the patient to be breathless and pulseless.
On our arrival, a few minutes later, we confirmed that the child, a 5 year old boy, had no pulse and no breathing, and CPR was continued by our NSRI medics for a good ten minutes before a pulse was restored and after paramedics arrived and took over with the resuscitation efforts eventually the patient began to also breath spontaneously but remained in a serious condition.
The remaining two children, a 5 year old boy and a 3 year old boy, who had been rescued by bystanders, were showing signs and symptoms of near drowning and all 3 children have been transported to hospital by ambulances.
Police are attempting to track down the children’s parents who were reportedly at the same recreational area at the time of the incident but it appears that they may not have known that their children were rescued and rushed to hospital as no one came forward to claim the children.
It was not clear at the time if the children were related nor where they are from but it appears that they were together in a group when the incident happened.
Other emergency services that arrived on-scene to assist were the Umhlatuze Traffic Services, ICE Medical Rescue, Meditrax ambulance services and Casavac Medical Rescue
NSRI are urgently appealing to bathers and anglers to be extra cautious between now and the middle of this week because the new moon Spring tide has fallen directly in the path of the expected festive season influx of vacationers to the coast.