At 21h08, Saturday, 18th April, NSRI Mykonos duty crew launched the sea rescue craft GEMINI RESCUER II following reports of red distress flares spotted in the vicinity of Friday Island.
A sea rescue vehicle was also dispatched to investigate.
On arrival on-scene a man and his wife were found in a small boat that was stuck on submerged sand bags at Friday Island.
The couple, from Paarl, intended going up the Langebaan Lagoon and after launching at 8p.m. their boat had become stuck on the sand bags while going past Friday Island.
Attempts were made to tow the boat off the sand bags but when that didn’t succeed the couple were taken off their boat and the owner and NSRI volunteers were able to lift the boat off the sand bags and they were brought back to Langebaan where no further assistance was required.
At 13h35, Sunday, 19th April, NSRI Plettenberg Bay duty crew were activated following a request for assistance from NSRI Plettenberg Bay volunteer Laurent Eray (a boat coxswain at NSRI Plettenberg Bay and a volunteer for 29 years) reporting that during a morning jog, between Natures Valley and Keurbooms Beach, he had become trapped by rising tide on a cliff face at Oupa and Ouma’s.
It appears that Laurent had been climbing over the cliff at Oupa and Ouma’s but got to a point where he couldn’t climb any further and turning around to go back he found that he was slipping on the cliff face rocks, from wet shoes after earlier wading through water. To add to the dilemma the route back had also been cut off by high tide.
Realising that he had got himself into a precarious situation where his safety had become compromised he called for assistance.
On realising where Laurent was NSRI knew that in the rising tide and an increasing sea swell state a boat rescue wasn’t an option and WC Government Health EMS rescue were alerted.
The Red Cross AMS rescue helicopter was activated, accompanied by rescue technicians Hilton Romer and Mohamed Shaik and they collected NSRI rescue swimmer Bruce Noble from the Plettenberg Bay sea rescue station.
During this time Laurent had begun to experience hypothermia, from wet clothing from earlier wading through water, and muscle spasms, from being in a confined space on the cliff face.
On arrival on the scene, in a difficult technical rescue operation, Metro Rescue technician Hilton Romer and NSRI rescue swimmer Bruce Noble were hoisted from the hovering helicopter to Laurent where he was stabilised and secured into a hoisting harness and safely hoisted off the cliff face into the helicopter.
Laurent was airlifted to the Plettenberg Bay Sea Rescue station where he received re-warming treatment and he required no further assistance.
Laurent was airlifted to the Plettenberg Bay Sea Rescue station.