At 16h05, Thursday, 11th August, NSRI Plettenberg Bay duty crew were activated following reports of four or five persons appearing to be in distress, caught in rip currents at Lookout Beach.
NSRI Plettenberg Bay responded to the base and the Sea Rescue craft Ray Farnham and Airlink Rescuer were launched and NSRI rescue swimmers responded directly to the scene.
It was confirmed that three United Kingdom citizens, a 52 year old father, his 15 year old daughter and his 18 year old son, taking an afternoon swim, had been caught in rip currents and eye-witnesses raised the alarm after seeing them being swept out to sea.
Two local surfers, Jock Kannemeyer and Andy Fermor, believed to be aged in their 40’s, who were nearby at the time noticed the three swimmers in trouble and they launched their surfboards to go to their assistance.
On the surfers reaching the three casualties, about 100 meters off-shore, the father was placed on one of the surfer’s surfboard and the son was placed on the other surfer’s surfboard. The surfers held onto the young woman keeping her afloat, and keeping all of them all together and keeping them afloat behind the breaker line.
Rip-currents were too strong to try to get them to the beach and the surfers were aware that NSRI Plettenberg Bay had been activated so they kept the three swimmers safe and calm using the two surfboards for floatation behind the breaker line.
The mother was on the beach during the incident.
On NSRI’s arrival on the scene NSRI rescue swimmers were deployed into the surf and they began to assist the casualties towards the beach through the surf line and then wading them ashore once they were closer to the beach.
One surfer and his board was taken aboard a sea rescue craft and brought to shore.
Once all were on the beach and reunited with the mother. NSRI has transported them to hospital for medical care. The father showed signs of exhaustion and near drowning symptoms and he will be treated at hospital and observed for secondary drowning symptoms and he is expected to fully recover.
The two teenagers were not injured but as a precaution they were taken to hospital with their dad.
We believe they are staying in Plettenberg Bay on holiday and the family are believed to be from Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom.
The two local surfers who assisted in this rescue today are commended for their efforts.
Picture attached taken by Marc Rodgers and aerial photography by Stuart Brink.