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At 12h30, Thursday, 27 January, NSRI Port Nolloth duty crew were activated following a request for assistance from an owner of horses reporting his horses to be trapped on a small island on the Orange River, in the Richtersveld, near to Alexander Bay.

Hugo Foot, NSRI Port Nolloth station commander, said:

The river, swollen from heavy rainfall was rising by the minute.

Of greatest concern was that one of the horses was tethered and would not be able to break free from the tether if the flood waters submerged the island.

NSRI Port Nolloth crew, who work in the area, were dispatched to investigate while our sea rescue craft Vodacom Rescuer 2 was prepared to be towed to the scene, 80 kilometers from Port Nolloth.

On arrival on the scene our sea rescue craft, accompanied by the owner of the horses, was launched onto the swollen river.

We reached the small island where NSRI rescue swimmers, the owner and bystanders waded the horses through the fast flowing water, between 1 meter and 1.5 meters in depth, moving from 1 island to the next with the aim to reach a larger island.

The distance between the last of the smaller islands to the larger island was 600 meters. The rescue swimmers encouraged the horses through the swift flowing water and finally reached the larger island.

Other livestock, cattle and horses, were already on the larger island and out of danger.

Once all horses and livestock were out of danger no further assistance was required and the operation was completed at 18h30.

Bystanders are commended for their assistance.

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