2 Men, a Pastor and a fisherman, are commended for their individual efforts to rescue 2 men who were swept out to sea by rip currents while swimming at Leentjiesklip on Sunday afternoon.
Our NSRI Wilderness duty crew responded to our Sea Rescue base on receiving a call from eye-witnesses at 17h20 reporting 2 men being swept out to sea at Leentjiesklip, Wilderness, said Garth Dominy, NSRI Wilderness station commander.
Our sea rescue craft Clemengold Rescuer was launched and NSRI rescue swimmers and WC Government Health EMS responded. We arrived on scene swiftly to find one of the casualties, 23 year old Justin April from Pacaltsdorp, already on the beach and Pastor Peter Veysie, a local, who had rescued the man, on a sandbank about 30 meters out to sea. He had launched back into the surf to go after the second casualty.
That first casualty, Justin, who was already on the beach having been saved by Pastor Peter, was treated on the scene by NSRI medics and EMS paramedics for non-fatal drowning symptoms and was transported to hospital by EMS ambulance in a serious but stable condition. He has since been released from hospital and has expressed his thanks to Pastor Peter for rescuing him.
Pastor Peter, describing himself as a good swimmer and one who has been around the sea all his life, recounted to NSRI the dilemma he faced after seeing the 2 men being swept out to sea in rip currents – should he run down the beach and fetch the NSRI’s Pink Rescue Buoy off its pole, or should he risk swimming out into the surf to try and help without the aid of the buoy? He chose the latter, feeling it may be too late if he took the extra time to go to fetch the Buoy.
He reached the first casualty, Justin, and was able to assist him to a sandbank where they had some relief before assisting him to shore and into the care of his wife. He returned, launching back into the sea, to go after the second man, 26 year old Quinton Jacobs, from Pacaltsdorp.
The NSRI sea rescue craft arrived on the scene to find Pastor Peter on the sandbank indicating to the NSRI crew the direction in which the second man was being swept.
Pastor Peter is commended for his contribution in saving Justin’s life.
Quinton Jacobs was being swept out in strong currents, across the shore front towards the Kaaiman’s River Mouth and was in grave danger.
2 Fishermen, brothers Ettiene and Cecil Klue, from George, who were angling from the rocks, saw Quinton in difficulty and saw him being swept out by the currents about 80 meters from where they were standing and the peril he faced.
Ettiene, age 45, who was enjoying his birthday and out for a day fishing with his brother, told NSRI that they saw the casualty going under water and re-emerge to take in air. With each swell that washed over him, the process repeated itself and Ettiene realised the gravity of the situation they were witnessing.
He immediately reeled in his fishing line, calling to his brother to bring him a knife so he could use the knife to cut off the fish hook from his fishing line. Both his brother and his fishing bag were a distance away from him and he knew that he had only seconds to spare if he was going to be able to help the man who appeared to be drowning.
He reeled in his fishing line and used the jagged edge of a rock to cut the hook off. Keeping the 8 ounce sinker on the line, and knowing that he only had one shot, he aimed and cast his line towards Quinton, who was some 80 meters out to sea.
The sinker went over Quinton’s head and the fishing line landed across Quinton who wrapped it around his hand in 20 to 30 wraps and hung on.
Ettiene started reeling Quinton in towards the shoreline and was able to reel him up to the rocks edge. Once Quinton was at the shores edge, Ettiene angled the fishing rod above his head and locked the reel to keep the line tight while a friend of Quinton’s, who had arrived at the location at that stage, assisted him up the rocks to safety.
NSRI medics and EMS paramedics checked on Quinton who was exhausted and suffering from minor cuts and bruises from the rocks. He was otherwise not injured but ever grateful to Ettiene for his quick thinking.
Quinton admits that he was rather surprised to see the fisherman casting his line in his direction but realised when he grabbed the fishing line the good intentions of the fisherman and he hung on.
Ettiene and his brother normally fish there for Cob and Mussel Cracker.
Ettiene, NSRI applaud your highly commendable efforts that contributed to saving Quinton’s life.
Ettiene has recounted to NSRI that a few years ago he had witnessed a drowning in progress at nearby Victoria Bay and had raised the alarm. NSRI Wilderness had saved that man from drowning.
Justin and Quinton are neighbours in Pacaltsdorp and confirmed to NSRI on Monday that they are both doing well and have expressed their thanks to Pastor Peter and Ettiene for their assistance on Sunday.
TO REPORT A SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY DIAL 112 FROM A CELLPHONE