At 13h32, Sunday, 28th February, NSRI Simonstown duty crew were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) following reports from paddlers who had been on a Millers Point down wind paddle that one of the double surf-ski’s, with two men onboard, was now almost 2 hours overdue and they were raising the alarm.
The two paddlers on the double surf-ski had last been seen in the vicinity approaching Roman Rock, off Simons Town.
The fellow paddler reported that they had sent paddlers from the party, who were already ashore, by road to begin a shore search.
NSRI Simons Town duty crew launched the sea rescue craft Spirit of Safmarine III to begin a search, in 2 to 3 meter sea swells and a 45 knot South Easterly wind, from their last known sighting.
A sea rescue vehicle was dispatched to join the shoreline search and CMR (Cape Medical Response) ambulance services and the EMS/AMS Skymed helicopter were activated.
One of the shore side paddlers reported sighting surf-ski off Glencairn but raising concern he reported not seeing the two paddlers with their craft.
The sea rescue craft diverted to investigate the sighting while the crew onboard the sea rescue craft continued to scour the surrounding rough seas for any signs of the two paddlers.
On arrival at the double surf-ski, half a nautical mile off Glencairn, both paddlers were found clinging onto the paddle craft.
Both were on the sea side of the paddle craft and that had led to the shoreline sighting not seeing the two men with their craft.
An NSRI rescue swimmer was deployed into the water and he found the men had tied themselves to their craft in their effort to not be separated from their craft.
The rescue swimmer untied them and both men were rescued onto the sea rescue craft and placed together in a Stokes Basket stretcher.
They were both suffering from extreme hypothermia and their wet gear was removed and they were wrapped in blankets and rewarming efforts commenced.
Their surf-ski was recovered and aboard the sea rescue craft they were brought to the sea rescue base in Simons Town where they were reunited with their concerned families and fellow paddlers and where CMR paramedics continued with rewarming efforts and with medical treatment.
One of the men had swallowed an excess of salt water and he had been found vomiting when they were found. The vomiting had continued after being rescued which contributed to the realisation of how serious their medical conditions were.
It was estimated that they had been in the water for an hour and forty minutes after capsizing in the vicinity of Roman Rock and not being able to re-board their surf-ski they had drifted in a North Easterly direction for about one nautical mile in the water, holding onto and tying themselves to their surf-ski, before being rescued.
Following medical treatment the one man, Andrew Cairns, 49, from Tokai, was assisted to a private vehicle and he will recover at home.
The second man, Simon Houghton, 47, from Constantia, was taken to the ambulance where ongoing medical treatment and re-warming continued and although strongly advised for him to be transported to hospital he chose to go home in private transport to recover.
Both men and their families were briefed on the signs and symptoms of secondary drowning to look out for.
It was established that the men had set off red pencil distress flares which had not been seen from shore.
NSRI are urging paddlers and boaters to download the NSRI free app RSA SafeTrx which allows a paddler (or boaters) journey to be tracked and has an emergency button to alert sea rescue authorities of a persons distress call and position the device to assist to enable a speedy rescue.
NSRI also urge paddlers and boaters to wear the appropriate bright coloured gear for the sea conditions, wear a properly fitting life-jacket, carry red distress flares and distress smoke markers, wear a referee whistle, have a mirror or computer CD disc that can be used in conjunction with sunlight to signal approaching air or sea craft, carry an emergency space blanket that can be unfolded to assist to increase detection, have reflective tape on the craft to assist to increase detection, have a fully charged cell phone in a water tight plastic sleeve with the NSRI’s RSA Safe Trx app downloaded on the device and with the sea rescue emergency contact numbers programmed into the phone.
Let a responsible person know your departure time and return time, your exact route, stick to your planned route and let that responsible person know of your safe return.
If you are overdue the responsible person looking out for you should alert sea rescue authorities without any delay.
On Friday evening, 26th February, NSRI Hout Bay duty crew, while at the sea rescue base at routine crew changeover, were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) following reports from members of the public desperately seeking medical assistance at the Hout Bay Market for a 38 year old Bergvliet man suffering electrocution and reportedly bystander Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) in progress.
It was reported that ambulance services had been activated but members of the public sought the assistance of NSRI Hout Bay medical crew who may be closer to the scene and able to assist.
NSRI Hout Bay medics responded and on arrival on the scene found bystanders conducting CPR on the man who was pulseless and breathless.
CPR was continued by NSRI medics and paramedics arrived from ambulance services and continued with Advance Life Support CPR but sadly after all efforts were exhausted paramedics declared the man deceased.
Sincerest Condolences are conveyed to family of the deceased man.
The man, believed to be a vendor at Hout Bay Market, had reportedly assisted with an electrical fault at a fellow vendors store where it appears that he was electrocuted.
Just after 13h00, Sunday, 28th February, NSRI Shelly Beach launched the sea rescue craft Spirit of Dawn to assist 3 persons, 2 males and a female, on the rigid inflatable craft, Danets, suffering motor failure.
A private fishing boat, Reel Crazy, had also assisted and they had taken onboard one man and the female from the casualty boat and brought them safely ashore and NSRI towed the casualty boat to shore with the skipper of the casualty boat who remained onboard.
Once safely ashore no further assistance was required.
At 14h50, Sunday, 28th February, NSRI Port Elizabeth medical crew were activated to assist at the Chokka Fishing Boat Septa reporting a friend of the skipper who had slipped and hurt his back onboard while they were fishing for bait.
Ambulance Services had been activated and on arrival on the scene NSRI medics stabilised the patient, suffering extreme pain from a back injury.
The man, 30 years old, from Dispatch, was secured into a Stokes Basket stretcher and on their arrival on the scene he was handed into the care of Netcare 911 paramedics who have transported him to hospital by ambulance for further treatment.