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On 15 February, Station 26 (Kommetjie) responded to a callout involving a casualty who had been pulled out to sea by a rip current. Quick action from the Coastwatcher on duty as well as the NSRI and other rescue services resulted in his speedy and safe recovery.“The casualty and his girlfriend often walk their dog on the beach and he’d enjoy a swim in the sea,” says Station 26 (Kommetjie) station commander Johnathan Bakker.Coastwatcher sounds the alarmAt 9h32 on the morning of 15 February, Station 26 duty crew were activated following reports from an NSRI Kommetjie Coastwatcher who had come across the swimmer’s distressed girlfriend at The Dunes on Noordhoek Beach. She informed her that her boyfriend had entered the surf and she had lost sight of him. “Our Coastwatcher scoured the ocean to try to spot the man in the water while also raising the alarm,” Bakker adds.No sign of the man could be seen in the water. “An all-female duty crew responded to our Sea Rescue base, and the rescue craft Spirit of the Vines was launched,” Bakker continues.NSRI rescue swimmers, City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services and CMR (Cape Medical Response) responded to the scene. The EMS/AMS Skymed rescue helicopter was also activated.The crew onboard Spirit of the Vines located the casualty, who was floating about 300m north of where he entered the water, at the backline breakers, and he was lifted onto the rescue craft. He was brought, semi-conscious and hypothermic, to the Kommetjie slipway where paramedics treated him for hypothermia and for non-fatal drowning symptoms. From there, a Netcare 911 helicopter was activated and the patient was airlifted to hospital in a serious but stable condition. The entire operation took 44 minutes.Coastwatchers play a valuable role in assisting rescue services along our shores. They are there to keep a look out for people and vessels who get into difficulty, and also take on the role of ‘shark spotters’, alerting relevant organisations should there be any sightings close to populated beaches. To find out about joining the Coastwatchers, please email
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