Robbie Gibson, NSRI Plettenberg Bay deputy station commander, said:
At 15h57, Monday, 08th January, NSRI Plettenberg Bay duty crew were activated following reports a male aged 20 rescued and reportedly out of the water at Natures Valley, Groot River Mouth, and reports of CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) efforts on progress.
The sea rescue craft Leonard Smith was launched and our NSRI rescue vehicle, Med-Life ambulance services and Bitou lifeguards responded.
While responding we were informed that a doctor, who happened to be on the beach at the time, was assisting with CPR and the patient had a pulse and spontaneous breathing had been restored and the doctor was continuing to assist with medical treatment.
Lifeguards arrived on the scene and medical oxygen was administered.
NSRI and Med-Life paramedics arrived on the scene and the patient was stabilised before being transported to hospital by ambulance in a serious but stable condition.
The patient was stabilised in hospital before being transferred to a hospital in George where he remains in a serious but stable condition.
It appears that the 20 year old local man had sunk under water while swimming with family. His cousin rescued him from the water and the doctor who happened to be there at the time conducted chest compressions and the patient started breathing spontaneously but remained in serious condition.
The man’s cousin, the doctor and the bystanders that assisted are commended for their quick actions.
Sunday, 07th January, at approximately 16h30, NSRI Bakoven coxswain Howard Bell was at the sea rescue base in Bakoven when a lady approached concerned for her family members on paddle boards who had paddled out earlier and who hadn’t returned.
At that stage no alarm was raised since the 2 paddle boards are normally stable but the lady then noticed one paddle board afloat behind Duiker rock, off-shore of Bakoven, and no one was on the paddle board raising concerns.
Howard grabbed a paddle board and paddled to the location behind Duiker rock finding both paddle boards adrift and semi-submerged and one man was perched on a rock and he seemed okay, the second man was lying on rocks with water sweeping over him and he appeared to be injured but he was conscious and Howard indicated to him to stay where he was while Howard assisted the man who was perched on the rock back to shore and then got the attention of locals at Bakoven and Howard grabbed a bigger paddle board and a man on a sea-kayak joined Howard dragging an SUP board along with them.
Howard and the bystander went back out to assist the man lying on the rocks.
On arrival Howard got the man off the rock and onto the SUP (stand-up paddle board) and the man was paddled to shore.
At that stage additional NSRI Bakoven crew were arriving at the sea rescue base and the man was treated for non-fatal drowning symptoms, hypothermia and scrapes and bruises and he required no further assistance following treatment.
The sea rescue craft Rotarian Schipper was launched and the 2 casualty paddle boards were recovered.
Both casualty craft had been launched without their bungs inserted and as the craft filled with water they had become unstable in the water and capsized out of view of people on the beach.
One man had managed to swim to the safety of a rock and the second man had reached a flatter rock but on clambering onto the slippery rocks, with water washing over the rock he had been scraped by muscles and barnacles on the rock.
Howard is commended for his swift action.
Ian Gray, NSRI Port Elizabeth station commander, said:
At 22h00, Monday, 7th January, the sea rescue craft Spirit of Toft was launched, accompanied by EC Government Health EMS rescue paramedics, to patient evacuate a crewman suffering a medical episode.
Earlier the Chokka fishing boat had requested assistance from NSRI reporting to be heading towards Port Elizabeth but at that stage they were approximately 5 hours away.
Telkom Maritime Radio Services assisted with VHF radio communications.
On arrival on the scene at 23h51 an NSRI rescue swimmer and an EMS paramedic were transferred onto the Chokka fishing boat.
The patient, a 28 year old local fisherman, was taken into the care of the paramedic and secured to a stretcher he was transferred onto the sea rescue craft and brought to our sea rescue base and he has been transported to hospital in a stable condition.