DURBAN and PORT EDWARD – Saturday, 21st September, 2013. Durban : Search for suspected paraglider ditched in the sea; Port Edward: a near drowning:
Clifford Ireland, NSRI Durban station commander, said:
“At 10h00 (Saturday, 21st September) Durban duty crew were activated following reports of a motorized paraglider ditched in the sea half a kilometer off Amanzimtoti Main Beach.
“Our Durban volunteers launched our sea rescue craft and our sea rescue vehicle responded. Police Search and Rescue, a Police helicopter, eThekwini Fire and Rescue Services KZN-EMRS (Emergency Medical and Rescue Services) and Netcare 911 ambulance services also responded.
“On arrival on-scene NSRI rescue craft and the Police helicopter conducted a sea search while shore sea rescue crews and Police gathered information from eye-witnesses and investigated, looking for any overdue motorized paragliders that could be related to this incident.
“Following an extensive search, after nothing was found, no sign of any wreckage or persons in any difficulty, and no reports of motorized paragliders unaccounted for and no one reported missing or overdue, the search was called off.
“It is unclear what eye witnesses saw. 3 separate eye-witnesses had seen what they strongly believed to be a motorized paraglider ditch in the sea. Police will continue to monitor the situation and react on any new information but at this stage it appears that this may have been mistaken identity and what eye-witnesses saw may have been something other than a motorized paraglider. It remains unknown exactly what it was at this stage and the eye-witnesses are credible and they had good intentions in alerting emergency services.”
Alan Stilwell, NSRI Port Edward duty controller, said:
“At 12h15 (Saturday, 21st September), while conducting routine base tasks at our NSRI Port Edward sea rescue station, we were alerted to reports of a woman being swept out to sea by rip currents at our main beach at Port Edward.
“We responded to the scene and an NSRI rescue swimmer and an Ubunthu lifeguard swam out to the casualty, approximately 60 meters off-shore, in the surf line, and rescued an 18 year old woman, from Umtata, bringing her safely back to shore.
“She had been swimming with friends when she was caught in a rip current and swept out to sea.
“Once safely ashore she was brought to our sea rescue base and treated for near drowning symptoms but she has declined further medical care and she has been advised on the signs of secondary drowning symptoms and to visit her doctor and to call emergency services if she experiences any secondary drowning complications.”
A lot of beach visitors are at beaches around the coast today and over this long weekend and NSRI remind sea users that we are in the full moon Spring tide, which brings much stronger than normal rip-currents, and there are also rough storm sea conditions brought on by a series of cold fronts. Extreme caution is advised to bathers, anglers, boaters and paddlers.