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At 14h16, Thursday, 16 December, NSRI Port Alfred duty crew were activated following eye-witness reports of a boat accident 8 kilometers upstream on the Kowie River with 4 crew on the boat suffering injuries.

Chris Pike, NSRI Port Alfred deputy station commander, said:

A private boat had raised the alarm after the casualty boat encountered a swarm of bees while underway on the river and the skipper of the boat veered off course in an effort to escape the swarm of bees before colliding into the river bank and trees along the river bank.

2 private boats were in attendance attempting to assist but the bees were still at that stage aggressive and stinging the casualties and a threat to the crews of the 2 boats that were attempting to assist.

NSRI Port Alfred coxswain Keryn van der Walt, on her private boat that was on the river at the time, responded immediately with her crew while the NSRI Port Alfred duty crew launched the sea rescue craft Rescue 11 Alpha and responded.

Gardmed ambulance services were activated to stand-by at the NSRI rescue base in Port Alfred.

Keryn arrived on the scene and despite the bees presence and risking being stung managed to extricate 2 of the casualties from the casualty craft and initiated medical treatment for serious injuries and multiple bee stings causing anaphylaxis to a 21 year old female, from Makanda, and bee stings causing anaphylaxis to a 43 year old female from Port Alfred.

On our Rescue 11 Alpha arriving on the we extricated a 49 year old male and a 20 year old male, both from Port Alfred, despite the risk of being stung by the bees that were still present on the scene.

The 20 year old male was treated for multiple bee stings and anaphylaxis. The 49 year old male was treated for bee stings and he showed no signs of any allergy to the stings.

All 4 patients were brought to our NSRI Port Alfred sea rescue station and taken into the care of Gardmed paramedics and 3 patients, the 2 females and the 20 year old male were transported to hospital by ambulance where they are recovering.

The 49 year old male was released requiring no further medical care.

The damaged casualty boat will be recovered by the owner at a later stage.

NSRI commend the swift reactions of the private boaters who assisted on the scene.

The crew of the casualty boat described a large swarm of bees that descended on them immediately starting to sting them multiple times while they were underway on the river.

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