At 09h50 on Sunday the 5th of April NSRI Jeffreys Bay duty crew were activated following a call from NSRI Port Elizabeth reporting a group of people trapped by the swollen Bergrivier at the Berg River camping site at Hankey, 30 kilometres from Jeffreys Bay. They were cut off from main exit route due to heavy rains experienced in the area overnight (125mm of rainfall overnight) and reportedly the situation had deteriorated overnight with the Bergrivier river becoming increasingly swollen by floods blocking the only route out.
NSRI Jeffreys Bay dispatched a swift water rescue team, accompanied by Daniel Heimann, the NSRI Regional Training Officer, who happened to be at NSRI Jeffreys Bay at the time and experienced in swift water rescue techniques, and an NSRI sea rescue vehicle towing the sea rescue craft LOVED 1’s 24:. to join EC Government Health EMS and the SA Police Services who were already on the scene.
On arrival on-scene it was confirmed that a number of the weekend campers were content to stay at the camp site and wait for the flood water to subside. A family of 6 had an 18 month old little girl and the 3 year old little boy suffering dehydration, fever and diarrhoea and needed to get them medical attention. The priority was to get them to hospital. The 10 year old young boy also needed to get to the airport to fly to Johannesburg.
NSRI set up a rope line across the river and used the sea rescue craft LOVED 1’s 24:. to pull it along the rope across the river. The crew reached the camp site and in relays first evacuated the mother with her two young ones, who once across the river, were treated by paramedics while being transported to hospital by EMS ambulance in stable condition. Next the father, the 10 year old boy and the grandmother were ferried across. NSRI delivered fresh fire wood, supplies and drinking water to the camp site for the remaining campers who had chosen to remain behind. (It has been established that the 18 month old girl has returned home to her mom in Port Elizabeth and although she was suffering diarrhoea she is in no danger and the 3 year old boy is being treated in hospital for a fever, diarrhoea and dehydration and is expected to make a full recovery) (The 3 year old boy and his mom are from Johannesburg).
A rope line has been left behind in case the situation needs to be readdressed between today and tomorrow but for now the rescue operation of the family has been successful and those remaining behind are safe and they are able to activate our help if it should be required.
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