At 15h15, Saturday, 10th January, NSRI Simonstown duty crew were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) following reports from Table Mountain National Parks rangers of a drowning in progress at Buffels Bay, Cape Point.
Details were sketchy due to no cell signal on the scene and NSRI Simonstown prepared to launch a sea rescue craft and dispatched a sea rescue vehicle and CMR (Cape Medical Response) and the SA Police Services responded.
On arrival on the scene Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) efforts were being conducted on the beach on a 42 year old Cape Town man who had been rescued by bystanders after being found lying face down in the water after being swept out to sea by a rip current.
Two men, a 30 year old and a 25 year old, from Mitchells Plein, had also been rescued by bystanders and only the 30 year old man needed to go to hospital suffering near drowning symptoms although in a stable condition and he was transported to hospital by CMR ambulance.
Despite extensive CPR efforts the Cape Town man was declared deceased and his body has been taken into the care of the Forensic Pathology Services and Police have opened an inquest docket.
Family are being assisted by trauma counsellors. Our condolences to the man’s family.
Off duty Darren Francis, a spokesman for the Western Cape Department of Health, who had been at Buffels Bay Beach all day, was braaing with family when he noticed the three men, who had been swimming together in the water on the South side of Buffels Bay, being swept out by rip currents.
Darren got family to try to raise the alarm while he grabbed a bystanders boogie board and went into the surf after the three men.
One man, the 25 year old, managed to catch a wave and he reached shallower water where he was able to stand and then assisted by bystanders he was able to wade out of danger and onto the beach.
Darren, on the boogie board, used a rip current to reach the 30 year old man, who was closer, and the 42 year old man, who had already been swept further out to sea, shouted at the two men to swim parallel to the beach in an effort to get them to swim out of the rip current which was still dragging them further out to sea.
The 30 year old man heeded Darren’s instructions and swam out of the rip current. Darren reached him but found him to be too exhausted and unable to help himself.
Darren managed to get him onto the boogie board and then caught waves to get the man to the beach where he was met by members of the public who helped, in shallow water, to get the exhausted man safely onto the beach.
At that stage an unidentified man on a sea kayak agreed to launch with Darren (still on the boogie board) to paddle out to go after the third man, the 42 year old, and an unidentified bystander also launched a boogie board in an effort to assist.
The three men, the unidentified man on the sea kayak, the unidentified man on a boogie board, and Darren on a boogie board, reached the 42 year old casualty who was found lying face down in the water and together they brought the man to shore where Darren immediately commenced CPR and was later joined by paramedics.
Sadly, despite all efforts, the 42 year old Cape Town man was declared dead.
Darren Francis is commended for his efforts today as well as the two unidentified men who came to assist Darren.
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