SEA RESCUE – Umhlanga and Port Alfred – Sunday, 21st September, 2014. 2 men rescued by lifeguards, Durban and a man has drowned, Port Alfred:
Juan Pretorius, NSRI Port Alfred station commander, said:
“At 13h52, Sunday, 21st September, NSRI Port Alfred volunteer sea rescue duty crew were activated following reports of a drowning in progress, half a nautical mile upstream from the sea rescue station, in the Kowie River, Port Alfred.
“NSRI Port Alfred launched our 5.5 meter rigid inflatable rescue craft and a sea rescue vehicle responded while Multi Security Services control room activated the SA Police Services, EC Government Health EMS and a Police Dive Unit to respond.
“On arrival on-scene it was found that a 20 year old male from Station Hill, Port Alfred, had disappeared under water in the Kowie River after reportedly getting into difficulty while swimming in the river.
“A local unidentified man, believed to be aged in his early 40’s and believed to be an employee of the local Wharf Street Brewery restaurant, had dived into the river in an attempt to rescue the victim but the victim had already disappeared under water. The unidentified man is commended for his desperate effort to try to locate and rescue the victim.
“NSRI conducted an extensive search and Police divers were deployed into the river to scuba dive search and the body of the victim was located and recovered from under water by the Police Dive Unit.
“EMS paramedics declared the man deceased on the scene and the body of the man has been handed into the care of the Forensic Pathology Services.
“Police have opened an inquest docket.
“It appears that the man had gone for a swim during a day outing to the river banks with friends before getting into difficulty while swimming.”
Andre Fletcher, NSRI Durban deputy station commander, said:
“At 14h15, Sunday, 21st September, NSRI Durban duty crew were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority following multiple reports from bystanders of a red distress flare and distress smoke flares deployed about 2 kilometres off-shore of Umhlanga.
“Our volunteer sea rescue crew launched MEGAN II and our sea rescue vehicle, Police Search and Rescue, Ballito Specialised Rescue Unit and Netcare 911 ambulance services responded.
“It appeared that a jet-ski had capsized with two men onboard who had set off red distress flares and distress smoke flares before they then abandoned the jet-ski and they were swimming towards shore and on-duty Umhlanga lifeguards had launched to rescue them.
“On our arrival on-scene we found that lifeguards had rescued Greg Martin, 29, and Quinton Meyer, 26, both from Durban, out of the surf and both men were not injured.
“NSRI located an upturned semi-submerged jet-ski 500 meters off-shore. The jet-ski was righted and towed by our sea rescue craft to Vetches Beach where the two men came to collect their jet-ski.
“According to the men while they were fishing the jet-ski had appeared to start smoking from the motor before capsizing and filling with water. They were both wearing life-jackets and they elected to abandon the jet-ski and swim towards shore before being rescued by lifeguards.”