At 14h00 on Wednesday the 16th of April, NSRI Port Alfred volunteer sea rescue duty crew were activated following reports of people being swept out to sea by rip currents at Eastern Beach.
Keryn van der Walt, NSRI Port Alfred duty coxswain, said: “Our Port Alfred duty crew launched our sea rescue craft and our sea rescue vehicle responded.
“On arrival on-scene we found a German family, father Ludder Grosse-Heidermann, and his son and daughter, safe on the beach. They were in the care of local teenager Jaco Roussouw.
“It appears that the father had been swept off his feet by rip-currents and his daughter and son had tried to assist him, but caught in the rip currents they were now swimming against the current to try to get back to shore. Realising the helplessness of the situation local teenager Jaco Rossouw, 17, who was on the beach at the time, raised the alarm and then he had waded into the water and had shouted instructions to the family to swim parallel to the beach to get out of the rip-current.The daughter, obeying the instructions from Jaco, had then towed her father across the beach front until they were free of the rip current and they had managed to make their way towards the beach where Jaco then assisted them out of the water and onto the beach.
“It at first appeared that they were not injured but the gravity of the situation that they had found themselves in weighed on Mr. Grosse-Heidermann and he succumbed to shock and in the care of our NSRI medics we transported the family to hospital to be checked out medically and to continue to receive support and encouragement.
“With our NSRI medics and hospital staff continuing to support and encourage the family Mr. Grosse-Heidermann recovered and they are ever grateful to Jaco for assisting them and for the support they have received from NSRI Port Alfred and from hospital staff.
“NSRI commend the effort of Jaco Rossouw and the efforts of the Grosse-Heidermann family in preventing a tragedy on our beach today.
“Jaco’s mom owns the local indoor swimming pool.”
NSRI urges bathers to take care over this long weekend while the Full Moon Spring tide causes a higher than normal high tide, a lower than normal low tide and hence much stronger than normal Rip Currents that will continue until after the long weekend.
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