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As we all flock to the coast for a bit of sea and sun over the festive season, it’s inevitable that the NSRI will become busier. These past few months were no different.

Here are a few notable rescues from the holiday period:

Port Alfred crew and private boaters risk swarm of bees to save casualties

According to NSRI Port Alfred deputy station commander Chris Pike, his crew was activated following eye-witness reports of a boat accident on the Kowie River, with four crew on the boat suffering injuries.

A private boat had raised the alarm after the casualty vessel encountered a swarm of bees while on the river and had veered off course in an effort to escape them, causing the boat to crash into trees along the river bank.

Two private boats tried to help the stricken crew but the bees were aggressive, stinging the casualties and causing a threat to the crews of the two private boats.

Luckily NSRI Port Alfred coxswain Keryn van der Walt was on her private boat on the river at the time, and responded immediately with her crew while the NSRI Port Alfred duty crew launched an NSRI craft to assist. Gardmed ambulance services were activated to be on stand-by at the Port Alfred rescue base.

Keryn arrived on the scene and managed to extricate two of the casualties from the craft, even though she risked being stung by the swarm of bees herself. She 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.

“Our team arrived at the scene and 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,” Chris says.

“All four patients were brought to our base and taken into the care of Gardmed paramedics and the three patients, two females and the 20-year-old male, were transported to hospital by ambulance where they are recovering. The 49-year-old male was treated for bee stings and fortunately showed no signs of allergy.”

Pink Rescue Buoy used in St Lucia rescue

According to St Lucia’s station commander Jan Hoffman, his team was activated following reports of a capsized boat in the surfline at St Lucia’s Ingwe Beach.

NSRI rescue swimmers responded to the scene and Netcare’s ambulance services were also called. Two men were trapped under their boat, which was washing ashore in breaking surf.

Luckily, the two men who were on the stricken vessel were already safely ashore when the NSRI arrived on the scene. It appears that at least five local fishermen, one armed with a Pink Rescue Buoy, were able to rescue them from under the capsized boat and bring them safely back to the shore

“The two crew members were medically treated on the scene by NSRI medics and they were brought to our NSRI St Lucia rescue base,” Jan says. “Netcare 911 paramedics continued with medical treatment and one of the men was transported to hospital by Netcare 911 ambulance in a stable condition.”

The NSRI would like to commend the fishermen for their bravery.

A busy day for East London crew

Simultaneous incidents in East London kept the NSRI East London duty crew on their toes on New Year’s day.

According to NSRI East London operations manager Geoff McGregor, his team received reports of drownings in progress at Christmas Rock and at Gonubie. At the same time, a four-year-old child went missing at Chintsa Beach.

“NSRI rescue swimmers and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) rescue paramedics waded across to Christmas Rock where a man was rescued and brought through surf to shore. He was then taken into the care of EMS paramedics,” Geoff says.

An extensive sea and shoreline search was carried out searching for the man's brother, who was also in difficulty, but there was no sign of the missing man.

“Police divers and Police K9 Search & Rescue continued the search at Christmas Rock, where the local adult male unfortunately remains missing,” Geoff says.

At Gonubie, local lifeguards saved a drowning man from the surf before the NSRI arrived on the scene.

At Chintsa Beach, NSRI East London duty crew and the South African Police Services conducted a search for the missing child and thankfully, she was found and returned to her family.

Injured teen assisted at Port Edward

“Our Port Edward duty crew were activated following reports from an NSRI crewman at Silver Beach of a 16-year-old male, from Eastern Cape, injured on the beach,” says Tokkie Livingstone, NSRI Port Edward’s deputy station commander.

The teenager appeared to have jumped into the surf and hit his head on the sea bed, leaving him with a back injury.

The NSRI’s medics stabilised the teenager on the beach, where he was secured to a spinal board with cervical spinal immobilisation. This is important when a patient has a suspected injury to the spine, as more movement can result in further damage and injury.

“He was brought to our NSRI Port Edward rescue base first aid room where medical treatment continued. Thereafter he was taken into the care of KwaZulu Private paramedics and transported to hospital in a serious but stable condition by KwaZulu Private ambulance,” Tokkie says.

Also read...

Durban – 1 person missing, 1 person rescued
Port Edward – Fatal drowning. A man missing. A female treated for injuries
A few incidents from this past weekend

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