At 17h59, Friday, 24th October, NSRI Simons Town crew were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority following reports of two paddlers on a double surf-ski overdue and missing between Millers Point and Roman Rock Lighthouse, Simons Town.
Reports from two paddlers that they had paddled, on 3 surf-ski’s, with 2 men on one double surf-ski and two men on two single surf-ski’s, on a down wind paddle from Millers Point to Fish Hoek, but when they reached Roman Rock Lighthouse the two men on the double surf-ski were nowhere to be found.
The two men on the 2 single surf-ski’s hung around for about 15 minutes waiting for their friends but when they still did not arrive they decided to paddle to Fish Hoek beach to check if the 2 men on the double surf-ski had perhaps overtaken them and may already be at their destination but on arrival at Fish Hoek Beach no sign of the 2 men could be found.
Once ashore they alerted lifeguards on the beach at around the same time that a False Bay Yacht Club member had spotted the paddlers, from his house, appearing to be in difficulty at sea near to Roman Rock Lighthouse, and NSRI Simons Town volunteers, who were at our sea rescue base at the time, were alerted and we responded aboard our sea rescue craft SPIRIT OF SAFMARINE III.
Following a brief search, in rough sea conditions with a gusting to 45 knot South Easterly wind, the paddlers were found 1 nautical mile North of the Roman Rock Lighthouse, (a bright red double surf-ski and a paddler wearing a bright neon top had aided in us finding them quickly) with one man paddling the surf-ski and with one man in the water hanging onto the back of the surf-ski.
Both men were rescued and put onto our sea rescue craft and their surf-ski was recovered.
The man who had been in the water, Alexander Vlantis, 56, a South African who now lives in Hong Kong and is on vacation in South Africa, was treated for severe hypothermia (he had been in the water for about an hour) and the man who had been paddling, aged in his 40’s, was less hypothermic but he was also treated for hypothermia.
CMR (Cape Medical Response) was activated and on our arrival at our sea rescue station the severely hypothermic Mr. Vlantis was transported to hospital in a serious but stable condition and following treatment for hypothermia he was released later.
The second man did not require to be transported to hospital.
The two men reported that they had attempted to phone for help but the plastic sleeve that their cellphone was in had filled with water and they were unable to use the phone to raise the alarm.
When they were found they had been attempting to reach shore despite the one man being unable to get back into the surf-ski and hanging onto the back of the surf-ski.