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NSRI's Grant Grove and Dean Wegerle contributed in preventing a drowning at Dolphin Beach, Jeffreys Bay, on Sunday, 31 October.

Grant is an NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) duty controller, a coxswain and rescue swimmer at NSRI Strandfontein and a rescue swimmer at the NSRI Airborne Sea Rescue Unit while Dean is the NSRI Events and Community Fundraising Manager and a coxswain and rescue swimmer at NSRI Table Bay.

They are on a field trip visiting NSRI stations and assisting at NSRI Events. Having just completed at a successful NSRI Oyster Bay Boere Dans fundraising event, and while heading towards the Wild Coast, they stopped at Jeffreys Bay to take a walk on the beach.

On Dolphin Beach, in front of the NSRI Jeffreys Bay rescue station, where a number of people were enjoying a day at the beach and swimming, they noticed a man caught in a rip current.

He was swimming in the direction of the beach but caught in a rip current he was gradually being swept further out to sea, said Grant, and we recognised the danger that he was in.

Grant grabbed the NSRI Pink Rescue Buoy, that is stationed at that beach on it's pole, while Dean alerted the NSRI Jeffreys Bay duty crew and NSRI's EOC.

NSRI Jeffreys Bay duty crew were activated to a drowning in progress at 16h50 and they responded.

Grant swam about 100 meters out to sea where he reached the casualty, a local man aged in his 40's.

The man was at first reluctant to accept my help, said Grant. But I could see that he was getting tired and despite swimming in the direction of the beach the rip current was slowly pulling him further out to sea.

I passed the pink rescue buoy to him which he grabbed a hold of and he held onto it tightly. The relief that I saw on his face, for having that floating object to hold onto, was obvious, said Grant. I gently coached him to tread water while I swam parallel to the beach, pulling him along with me while he held onto the pink buoy, until we were free of the rip current and then we used the incoming waves and we reached the shoreline safely.

By that stage NSRI Jeffreys Bay crew were arriving on the scene but the man was not injured and he required no further assistance.

NSRI commend the swift reaction of Grant and Dean.

This is the 79th time that a life has been saved with the contribution of an NSRI Pink Rescue Buoy since the 2017 inception of the NSRI Pink Rescue Buoy program, said Andrew Ingram, NSRI Drowning Prevention Manager.

NSRI Pink Rescue Buoys are stationed around the coastline at beaches that are not patrolled by lifeguards.

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