Hennie Niehaus, NSRI Wilderness station commander, said: “At 18h33, Saturday, 04th July, NSRI Wilderness crew were activated following eye-witness reports of 3 people, a man and two children, on a rock cut off by the Spring high tide, at Pacaltsdorp, near to George, in front of the Blue Whale Resort.
The eye-witness reported that the three people were shouting for help.
NSRI Wilderness dispatched rescue crew to the scene and found that although the rocks would not be completely engulfed by the Spring high tide high, it would be some time before the tide dropped enough to walk them across.
WC Government Health EMS also responded to the scene. The high tide had started to retreat but with a good 4 to 6 hours remaining before low tide, and considering that two of the three were children, the decision was taken to get them off the rock as quickly as possible to rule out any complications that may arise.
A rescue swimmer was dispatched through the surf to the rock, carrying throw lines, where he found Errol Duitsjan, 53, his son Shonnold, 13, and their friend Ronaldo de Klerk, 7, all from Pacaltsdorp, safe but the beginning stages of hypothermia were setting in. They had been cut off from mainland while fishing from the rock during the Spring tide not realising that the Spring tide high tide would cut them off from mainland.
In relays, one at a time, all three were brought safely across through the surf assisted by the NSRI rescue swimmer using the throw line rope as a precaution against being swept away. In each relay the 2 to 3 meter swells were timed and they were brought across through the surf during a calm lull between wave sets.
All three were brought across safely without incident. They were all treated for mild hypothermia but safe and not injured they did not require any further assistance once re-warmed and all resources returned to base at 21h30.
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