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JEFFREYS BAY:Michael van den Bergh, NSRI Jeffreys Bay station commander, said:On Saturday morning, 31st October, off duty lifeguards who had just arrived at the lifeguard facility at Main Beach, Jeffreys Bay, to attend to routine maintenance of the lifeguard facility, were alerted by bystanders of people in trouble in the water.2 lifeguards Zwelie Mafutha and Siphelele Gasa stripped down to their costumes and in a race against time, and not having time to open the lifeguard facility, they simply grabbed the NSRI pink rescue buoys stationed on their poles at Main Beach and they launched into the water where 6 people, 3 adults and 3 children, were in difficulty and were being swept away by rip currents.NSRI Jeffreys Bay duty crew were alerted.It appears that the children may have had body boards and at least 3 of the casualties were having difficulty staying afloat using one of the body boards for floatation.Using the pink rescue buoys for floatation the 2 lifeguards reached the casualties assisting them to float when bystanders Andrew Moon and Jerry van Wyk, who are both local surf instructors, launched on surfboards and paddled out to assist. Another unidentified bystander, a man, had also paddled out to assist.Between the 2 lifeguards, the 2 surf instructors and the unidentified bystander they were able to get all 6 persons out of the water safely.NSRI commend the quick action of these men who saved the lives of 3 male children, believed to be aged between 6 and 10, and 3 adults, a female believed to be aged in her 50’s or 60’s, and 2 males, believed to be aged in their 40’s and 50’s.NSRI has strategically placed NSRI pink rescue buoys around the coastline and at some inland dams.This incident has again highlighted the valuable life saving assistance these pink rescue buoys provide to bathers when they get into difficulty in water.This brings the number of lives saved to 66 since the inception of the pink rescue buoy project in November 2017 and we are aware that sometimes incidents are not reported when the pink rescue buoys are used to provide assistance to bathers in difficulty.NSRI are appealing to the public to keep the pink rescue buoys on their poles on the beach and only remove them from their poles to be used for life saving purposes.NSRI commend these men for going to the assistance of the 6 swimmers in difficulty who were brought safely out of harms way thanks to the quick thinking of the lifeguards, the surf instructors and the bystander.
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