PORT ELIZABETH Saturday and Sunday, 28th and 29th January, 2012. 3 incidents – man saved from drowning; man overboard yacht rescued, one man missing:
At 08h25 on Saturday 28th January NSRI Port Elizabeth volunteer sea rescue duty crew were called out following reports from Coastal Rescue of a man being swept out to sea at Brighton Beach, North of Port Elizabeth.
Our duty crew launched our sea rescue boat Boardwalk Rescuer and the SA Police Force, our NSRI rescue vehicle and EC Government Health: EMS responded to join lifeguards at the beach who had initiated a rescue.
On arrival Police Warrant Officer Coetzee, a Police patrol officer of the Mount Rhodes Police Station, swam out and reached the victim, 26 year old Bradley van Wyk, from Bloemendal, Port Elizabeth, and began to swim him towards the shore.
2 Metro lifeguards reached them in the surf and took over from W/O Coetzee assisting the victim while W/O Coetzee swam back to shore.
Our sea rescue craft reached the lifeguards and the victim and all three were taken onboard our sea rescue craft and they were brought ashore.
Paramedics treated the patient for near drowning symptoms and he was transported to hospital in a stable condition.
At 11h50 on Sunday, 29th January, Port Elizabeth volunteers were called out by the Transnet National Ports Authority for the yacht Jelly Baby which had a broken rudder and was unable to steer off Port Elizabeth.
Spirit of Toft was launched and during the response the skipper of Jelly Baby reported a man overboard.
It appears that when Jelly Baby had steering failure the mainsail boom suddenly swung around in the wind knocking a crewman, Darren Kretchmann, overboard but the skipper, Sean Wiseman, was unable to turn the yacht around to try to save him because of the steering failure.
Another yacht that was nearby at the time, Lady, saw the crewman being knocked overboard and they went to his rescue but the elderly skipper of Lady and his two female crew were not able to lift Darren Kretchmann onboard so they just hung onto him over the side of the yacht.
While this was happening Spirit of Toft had reached Jelly Baby but a miscommunication saw the skipper of Jelly Baby report that his overboard crewman had been rescued safely by Lady. Neither Jelly Baby nor NSRI were aware that the crew on Lady were still struggling to get Darren onboard.
When it became clear that Lady were in a predicament and unable to get the casualty onto their yacht NSRI left Jelly Baby to go and help at Lady but fortunately by the time NSRI arrived at Lady they had managed to get Darren onboard.
Darren was suffering hypothermia, shock, near drowning symptoms and exhaustion and he was treated on Lady who then brought him into Port Elizabeth where he was transferred into a Guardmed ambulance and transported to hospital in a stable condition.
Jelly Baby was towed by NSRI to Port.
At 16h30 on Sunday 29th January the duty crew were called again following reports from the Beach Office at Kings Beach of a drowning in progress.
NSRI towed our sea rescue craft Boardwalk Rescuer to be launched on scene and Guardmed ambulance service responded to join Metro lifeguards and Kings Beach lifeguards who were swimming out to rescue 3 people being swept out to sea.
Lifeguards rescued a father and his son who were not injured and then rescued Patrick Mashaba, a Johannesburg man in his late 20’s, who was unconscious and not breathing when lifeguards brought him through the surf onto the beach.
Paramedics successfully resuscitated the man and stabilized him but the man then expressed concerned for his friend who he claimed had also been in the water with him and was now missing.
An extensive search commenced for the missing man and a Police dive unit joined in the search but by last light no sign of the Johannesburg man could be found and he is missing and he is presumed to have drowned.
Patrick was transported to hospital in a stable condition by ambulance. A Police dive unit will resume the search today for the missing man. Police have opened an inquest docket.