At 15h30, Friday, 22nd January, NSRI Melkbosstrand and NSRI Table Bay duty crews were activated following an eye-witness report of a man believed to be on a surf board or a paddler suspected to be in difficulty and suspected to have been blown out to sea off Milnerton lighthouse in a gale force South Easterly wind.
The NSRI Table Bay sea rescue craft Spirit of Vodacom, at sea in the area at the time conducting sea trials, diverted to investigate while NSRI Melkbosstrand launched the sea rescue craft Rotary’s Gift and Mens Health Rescuer.
NSRI shore crew were dispatched to Milnerton lighthouse to investigate from the shoreline.
The AMS/EMS Skymed rescue helicopter, Law Enforcement and WC Government Health EMS joined in an extensive sea, shore and air search operation but no signs of a person on a board could be found and no persons were reported missing or overdue.
It is suspected that perhaps the sighting of the lone surfer, or paddler, 2 to 3 nautical miles off-shore may have been a paddler on a downwind paddle, a common practice for paddlers, but it cannot be confirmed and while an active search operation has been suspended the situation continued to be monitored during the night and on Saturday, with still no reports of any persons missing or overdue, it is believed that this may have been a false alarm with good intentions.
During the search operation NSRI were alerted at 18h00 to eye-witness reports of a kite-surfer injured 700 meters off Eerste Steen, between Bloubergstrand and Melkbosstrand.
NSRI Sea Rescue craft that were engaged in the search operation nearby, the AMS/EMS Skymed rescue helicopter, Blouberg Surf lifeguards, aboard a rescue craft and ER24 ambulance services responded.
A 52 year old male kite surfer, from Germany, reportedly training for a kite-surfing event and kite-surfing with two friends, believed to be German citizens, had been knocked unconscious while kite-surfing off Eerste Steen.
The accident was witnessed by a local man on the beach who raised the alarm and rescue resources that were engaged in the search for the paddler (or surfer) nearby diverted to respond to the report of the kite-surfing accident.
The 2 friends of the unconscious kite-surfer found their injured friend to be unsconscious and lying face down in the water and they turned him over and drifted with him keeping his head above water and they found that he was not breathing.
It is believed that the friends initiated rescue breaths and the kite surfer regained spontaneous breathing and he regained consciousness and they drifted together, in the gale force winds, with the casualty kite-surfer lapsing in and out of consciousness, where an NSRI sea rescue craft located them 700 meters off Derde Steen. The unconscious kite-surfer was rescued onto the Sea Rescue craft and brought onto the beach where paramedics initiated medical treatment.
The patient was airlifted by the AMS/EMS Skymed helicopter to hospital in a stable but critical condition and he remains in hospital in a stable but serious condition.
The two friends are commended for their actions.