At 18h38, Thursday, 16th October, NSRI Melkbosstrand were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority following eye-witness reports of a paddler appearing to be in difficulty off Big Bay, Bloubergstrand.
NSRI Melkbosstrand volunteer sea rescue duty crew towed our sea rescue craft MENS HEALTH RESCUER to Big Bay where she was launched.
On arrival on-scene, 1 nautical mile off-shore of Big Bay, Bloubergstrand, in 2 meter confused, rough, choppy sea swells and a South Easterly wind gusting to 35 knots, we found two surf-skiers had gone to the assistance of surf-skier Scheepers Schoeman, 37, from Tableview, who had fallen out of his surf-ski and was unable to get back into his surf-ski and he was exhausted and hypothermic and together they were being blown out to sea.
Mr Schoeman was too hypothermic and too exhausted to activate and deploy his red distress flares and the eye-witnesses are commended for noticing him in difficulty and raising the alarm.
The two surf-skiers, Andrew Ward, 40, from Mouille Point, and Jason Ratoray, 39, from Sea Point, had assisted the man back into his surf-ski but he was too exhausted to paddle and they had both stayed with the man assisting him to stay in his surf-ski until the sea rescue craft arrived.
NSRI Melkbosstrand brought the man ashore aboard MENS HEALTH RESCUER, while beginning treatment for hypothermia, and the man has been transported to hospital by Netcare 911 ambulance in a stable but serious condition for treatment for hypothermia and for observation for near drowning symptoms and for treatment for exhaustion.
The two surf-skiers who assisted the man are commended for their efforts to help the man and to stay with him until NSRI arrived on the scene despite being blown out to sea with the man that they were assisting.
NSRI Melkbosstrand waited until both surf-skiers had both paddled safely to shore in the fading light.