NSRI Port Alfred duty crew were activated following reports a patron at Guido's restaurant, West Beach, Port Alfred, of a man swept off of the West Pier, by a wave, into the Kowie River near to the Kowie River Mouth.
Keryn van der Walt, NSRI Port Alfred duty coxswain, said:
While watching rugby, at Guido's restaurant, an eye-witness had seen the man on West Pier and he had commented to his friends that the man appeared to be acting strangely. The man was was wearing a wet suit, appearing to be fishing using a rope, and he was on a section of West Pier that was being washed over by waves in the incoming high tide.
Waves were already washing over the Pier and the eye-witness watched as a wave swept over the man and washed him off West Pier into the river.
The eye-witness alerted the manager of the restaurant. The patron called NSRI to raise the alarm while the restaurant manager ran to where an NSRI pink rescue buoy is stationed nearby on West Beach. The manager ran onto West Pier and he was able to throw the pink rescue buoy to the casualty who was able to grab a hold of the pink rescue buoy while he was being battered by waves in the surf line.
Our NSRI duty crew responded to our NSRI Port Alfred rescue station to launch sea rescue craft.
Gardmed ambulance services were activated.
An off duty NSRI trainee rescue swimmer, who was nearby at the time, saw the commotion and he ran along West Pier, stripped down to his under clothes and he jumped into the river to go to the assistance of the man.
But when he reached the man, about 50 meters into the river from West Pier, he found only the NSRI pink rescue buoy afloat with no sign of the man who had by now slipped under water.
The NSRI trainee rescue swimmer pulled on the rope and leash, that is attached to the pink rescue buoy, and to his surprise he could feel resistance so he continued to pull on the rope and leash when the leg of the man appeared from under water and it was obvious that the rope had somehow remarkably tangled itself around the man's leg.
He was able to get the man's head above water but the man was not breathing.
At that stage our NSRI rescue craft, Rescue 11 Alpha, had arrived on the scene and we pulled them onto our rescue craft. We initiated medical treatment and brought the man to our NSRI rescue station.
The man had started spontaneous breathing and he was expelling water from his lungs.
NSRI medics continued with oxygen therapy and handed the man into the care of Gardmed paramedics who transported the man to hospital in a serious condition by ambulance.
The man, believed to be aged in his early 20's, is recovering in hospital in the care of hospital staff and he remains unidentified.
Anyone with information pertaining to the identity of the man can call Port Alfred Police on
046 624 1583 or Port Alfred Hospital046 604 4000 or NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) 0870949774.
NSRI commend the swift reaction of all involved in the successful rescue, in particular the manager of Guido's restaurant, Irvin Arendse, for his assistance with the NSRI pink rescue buoy that contributed to saving the man's life.
This is the third life saved by that same NSRI pink rescue buoy stationed on-duty at West Beach and the 122nd recorded life saved by the contribution of an NSRI pink rescue buoy.
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