Robert van Helsdingen, NSRI Wilderness station commander, said:
At 15h41, Tuesday, 23rd January, NSRI Wilderness duty crew were activated following reports of two people, a man and a woman, caught in rip currents at the Gwaing River Mouth, near to George, and being swept out to sea.
We dispatched a sea rescue vehicle towing our sea rescue craft Clemen Gold Rescuer and the SA Police Services and WC Government Health EMS responded.
A local 30 year old man and his girlfriend, 27, were being swept out towards the river mouth while swimming in the river, they are believed to originally be from Gauteng.
On arrival on the scene we were above the cliff and looking down onto the water we found a man, local Colm Macguire, believed to be aged in his late 30’s or early 40’s, on a paddle-ski that he had launched/ He had reached the man outside the river mouth behind the breakers and he was bringing that man towards the shore. The man was holding onto the paddle-ski with the assistance of Mr. Macguire.
It was later confirmed that the casualty was exhausted at the time Mr. Macguire reached behind the breakers.
The woman was caught in an eddy and swirling around in currents in the river mouth but managing to stay afloat.
While bringing the man towards the shore, in the breakers, the paddle-ski capsized and the casualty was able to swim towards rocks nearby. He clambered onto the rocks and he was safe ashore but he appeared to be in a serious condition.
The good samaritan, Mr. Macguire, swam to recover his paddle-ski and he reached his paddle-ski in the surfline. He then paddled to the woman and, reaching her , he was able to paddle out of the swirling eddy with the woman being assisted by him. They reached closer to shallow water where, by that stage, our NSRI rescue swimmers had reached them and waded them out of the water to safety. She was placed on oxygen as a precaution and was otherwise not injured and she was released requiring no further assistance.
Paramedics reached the man who was on the rocks and treated him for non-fatal drowning symptoms.
WC Government Health EMS had activated the EMS/AMS Skymed rescue helicopter and on their arrival on the scene they hoisted the injured man off the rocks and airlifted him to an area where the EMS ambulance was parked.
EMS paramedics treated the man for non-fatal drowning symptoms and he has been transported to hospital by EMS ambulance in a serious but stable condition for further treatment and he is expected to fully recover.
NSRI commend Colm Macguire for saving the two peoples lives today.