Lyall Pringle, NSRI Hout Bay station commander, said:
From the early hours of this morning, Saturday, 11th March, our NSRI Hout Bay crews assisted at the fire at the Imizamo Yethu informal settlement, Hout Bay.
Our sea rescue crews assisted with fire fighting, evacuation of residents and animals, delivering supplies, first aid treatment and our sea rescue 4×4 vehicle was used to help collect and transport patients from the upper reaches of the settlement bringing them to the patient triage area at the Hout Bay Fire Station. Our NSRI medics assisted Western Cape Government Health EMS, Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services and Hout Bay volunteer EMS paramedics to treat patients suffering mostly from burn wounds at the Fire Station prior to being transferred to hospitals by ambulance.
A massive community effort was deployed by members of the public.
NSRI crew are now also at DAWG (Domestic Animal Rescue Group), Hout Bay, assisting to treat animals injured in the fire.
Declan Nurse, NSRI Knysna deputy station commander, said:
At 07h15, Saturday, 11th March, NSRI Knysna duty crew responded aboard our sea rescue craft Jaytee IV following reports from staff of the St James Hotel of a Whale Shark appearing to be stranded on the shoreline 4 kilometers up inside of the Knysna Lagoon.
On arrival on the scene the animal, appearing to be weak and in ill health, was assisted with breathing using a water pump to pump water through it’s gills and the animal appeared to gather strength.
Advice was sought from specialists and we were joined on the scene by SA National Park Rangers and Knysna Motor Strippers towing company provided towing strops which were used to attempt to return the animal to the water.
A group of paddlers joined the efforts to try to save the Whale Shark.
Once in deeper water initially the animal appeared to swim but on further observation the animal appeared to lose the will to fight and it is strongly suspected, according to Marine Specialists and Vets, that the cold water was what affected the animal – normally found further North in Kwa-Zulu Natal in warmer waters.
We then used the strops provided to tow the animal using our sea rescue craft and attempts were made to return the animal to deep sea water beyond the Heads in an effort to give the animal its best chance at survival but each time we neared the Heads, where water temperature was colder, the Whale Shark escaped and returned to the shallower warmer waters nearer to sand banks.
The Whale Shark is currently about a nautical mile from the Heads inside of the lagoon in shallower warmer waters and although we are cautiously optimistic that the Whale shark may survive SAN Park rangers will continue to monitor the animal which remains close to their offices.
NSRI thank all who assisted, SAN Park rangers and the public.
Pierre Jacobs, NSRI Mykonos duty coxswain, said:
At 11h15, Saturday, 11th March, NSRI Mykonos and NSRI Lamberts Bay duty crews were activated to respond to Elands Bay following reports of a Kreef Bakkie (small open fishing boat) capsized.
Sea rescue craft were towed to the scene and the SA Police Services responded and on arrival on the scene the casualty boat was found already recovered but no persons appear to have been involved in the incident and no further assistance was required.
TO REPORT A SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY DIAL 112 FROM A CELLPHONE