At 10h32 on Saturday the 30th of May, NSRI Bakoven duty crew were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) following eye-witnesses reporting 3 men in difficulty on Bodyboards in the surf in big surf conditions at Camps Bay Beach.
NSRI Bakoven rescue swimmers and shore crew responded to the land side to investigate and to begin a shore line search. NSRI Table Bay’s sea rescue craft, SPIRIT OF VODACOM, that was on the water at the time conducting routine training, were diverted to respond to the scene.
Community Medics, the SA Police Services, Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services, Camps Bay Community Watch, ER24 ambulance services, EZRA medical response, Generic Paramedics ambulance and WC Government Health EMS responded and the AMS/EMS Skymed rescue helicopter was activated.
On arrival on-scene NSRI found two of the bodyboarders safely ashore, 2 men, Jonty Medcalf, 37, and his brother James, 26, both formerly of Port Elizabeth and now residing in Woodstock, Cape Town, reporting that their friend, Arthur Sierra, 34, formerly of Durban and now residing in Green Point Cape Town, who had been out in the surf with them on a bodyboard had last been seen about 200 meters off-shore of Glen Beach. He was now suspected to be missing at sea on his bodyboard.
The two survivors, Jonty and James, reported that while the three men were bodyboarding at Camps Bay Beach they had been caught in rip currents and while Jonty and James had both managed to get to shore safely their friend Arthur had been swept further out to sea before they lost sight of him.
An extensive sea, shore and air search commenced in big surf conditions and during the search the missing Arthur Sierra was spotted by the Skymed helicopter.
NSRI Table Bay’s sea rescue craft SPIRIT OF VODACOM was guided to his position by the helicopter crew, off Bantry Bay – he had been swept by the currents approximately 2 nautical miles across the Atlantic Seaboard and moving in the direction towards Sea Point, approximately 1 nautical mile off-shore, before being located by the crew aboard the Skymed helicopter.
On their arrival on-scene NSRI Table Bay took Arthur Sierra aboard the sea rescue craft and reported that he was in a satisfactory condition and in good spirits, much to the emotional delight of his two friends who were with rescuers at Glen Beach at the time.
Arthur’s two friends, Jonty and James, and family and friends congregated at the NSRI Table Bay sea rescue base and on the arrival of the sea rescue craft Arthur was met by an emotional welcome from his friends and family.
It appears that during the search operation the sea rescue craft SPIRIT OF VODACOM had come within less than a hundred meters of the casualty but big sea swells hid the missing man from sight of the crew aboard the sea rescue craft.
Read Arthur’s account in the Zigzag magazine: http://www.zigzag.co.za/features/exclusives/lost-and-found-cape-surfer-rescued-from-giant-seas/
NSRI urge bathers, paddlers, surfers, board sailors and bodyboarders to wear bright clothing (as part of the NSRI campaign “BE BRIGHT” sponsored by Ogilvy and Mather Ad Agency).
The SA Weather Service has warned of big sea surf and big sea swell conditions that will be experienced over the weekend around the coast brought about by a cold front sweeping across the Southern parts of South Africa since Thursday.
Caution to sea farers, paddlers, surfers, board sailors is advised.
TO REPORT A SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY DIAL 112 FROM A CELLPHONE
SMS 32287 with your name and a message of support for our Sea Rescue crew