Deon Langenhoven, NSRI Hermanus deputy station commander, said: “At 11h36 (Saturday 24th August) NSRI Hermanus volunteer sea rescue duty crew were activated following reports of two men being swept out to sea at Fisherhaven lagoon mouth.
“The two men were paddling on a double kayak when rip-currents, in the Spring Tide, sucked them out the lagoon mouth and into the wave line where they capsized. One man, Gareth Woods, 34, from Pinelands, managed to get to shore and was helped out of the water by Law Enforcement officers and despite some mild hypothermia he was not injured. The second man was swept out to sea beyond the breaker line.
“We dispatched our rescue swimmers, our sea rescue craft was towed to the scene, the Red Cross AMS Skymed helicopter was activated and WC Government Health EMS and the SA Police Services responded to join Law Enforcement officers who were already on the scene.
“On arrival on-scene the man, Paul van Rensburg, 35, from Pinelands, who was wearing a life-jacket, could be seen struggling against strong rip-currents beyond the breaker line in rough seas.
“Prior to our sea rescue boat or Skymed’s arrival on-scene a current swept the man closer towards shore, and when he was about 80 meters from the shore we dispatched two NSRI rescue swimmers, Josh Henn and Andre Barnard, to swim out to the man. They reached him and secured the casualty but a rip-current then swept all three further out to sea.
“The two rescue swimmers managed to pull the casualty across the shore front until they were free of the rip-current and then using the waves they managed to swim the casualty to shore where he was handed over to EMS paramedics. He was suffering exhaustion, hypothermia and near drowning symptoms and he has been airlifted to hospital by Skymed in a serious but stable condition.
“It is without a doubt that Paul van Rensburg’s life-jacket saved him from drowning. He is reportedly recovering well in hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.”
These pictures are available for media download on Sea Rescue’s Flickr page.