It was a busy weekend for our volunteers, with several incidents taking place at Wilderness and Table View in the Cape, Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape, and Chaka's Rock in KwaZulu-Natal.
On Friday, 7 October, at 13h20, a member of the public contacted the NSRI Wilderness duty phone concerned that 2 children were potentially swimming in a dangerous area at Leentjiesklip Beach in Wilderness.
NSRI rescue crew were immediately put on standby when a minute later a second caller phoned to report that the 2 children were being swept out to sea in a rip current and it appeared that their father was swimming in their direction to try to rescue them.
NSRI rescue swimmers and NSRI medics were dispatched to the scene directly while NSRI crew responded to our NSRI Wilderness rescue station to prepare the NSRI rescue craft Ann Stratford to be launched.
Western Cape Government Health EMS ambulance and rescue unit and George Fire and Rescue Services also responded to the scene.
A family from New Zealand, originally from Bloemfontein, were on holiday on the Garden Route and they were on their way to Knysna when they stopped for a swim at Leentjieklip Beach.
While swimming the two boys of the family, aged 10 years and 13 years, had been pulled out in a rip current.
Their dad had rushed into the water to swim after them to attempt to rescue them and he also got into trouble in the rough sea conditions.
Divan Prinsloo (34), from Pretoria, was on the beach with his own family and he witnessed the 2 boys and their father being pulled out by the rip current. He immediately grabbed his child’s bodyboard and he launched into the water to assist. On reaching the family the four of them hung onto the bodyboard, for flotation, while being pulled further out to sea.
Divan realised that they would not be able to swim back on their own and would need to wait for assistance to be rescued. He tried to reassure the distressed boys, encouraging them to keep holding onto the bodyboard and kicking together with each wave that washed over them.
Divan’s wife, Charice (32), she had grabbed the NSRI pink rescue buoy and was appealing for someone on the beach to assist her husband and children.
Coenraad (39) from Pretoria, who was on holiday visiting his sister who lives in a house overlooking Leentjiesklip beach, on hearing the calls for help, looked out and saw the commotion and ran down to the beach where grabbed the pink rescue buoy from Charice and he launched into the water.
On reaching the casualties he and Divan devised a plan to get to shore which was actioned.
Using the pink rescue buoy Coenraad swam the 13-year-old boy back to shore, while Divan together with the father and the 10-year-old boy were able to use the bodyboard to get back to shore.
Meanwhile, a group of 4 men, who were working on a building site overlooking the beach, were watching the events unfold and they also ran down to the beach. One of the workers, a 21-year-old man, grabbed an NSRI pink rescue buoy and entered the water to assist.
Unfortunately, he was pulled out to sea by the strong current and he went past the casualties (who were at that stage gradually getting closer to the shore) but despite going further out to sea he was able to keep himself afloat using the pink rescue buoy.
On the first NSRI rescue swimmer arriving on the scene, he quickly assessed the situation and given the distance that the 21-year-old casualty had been swept out and the distance he was from the shore the rescue swimmer communicated to the responding resources that he was entering the water to go after the 21-year-old but that additional resources were urgently required. He was also not sure whether there were any other casualties still in the water.
The NSRI rescue swimmer reached the 21-year-old man, who had the pink rescue buoy, and the NSRI rescue swimmer was able to swim him back to shore.
NSRI medics who had responded to the scene were subsequently joined by NSRI crew who had responded by boat and they provided emergency medical treatment to the 10-year-old boy and to the 21-year-old Good Samaritan.
The 14-year-old boy and his father, although shocked by the experience, they did not require any medical treatment.
The two injured casualties were taken into the care of EMS paramedics and after further medical assessment, it was determined that they would not require hospitalisation.
NSRI commend everyone involved in this incident, in particular the Good Samaritans who took the two Pink Rescue Buoys and the body board for flotation, they contributed to lives being saved.
At 14h29, Saturday, 8 October, a call came in of 2 persons trapped on a rock ledge by the incoming tide North of Chaka's Rock (High Rock).
NSRI Ballito duty crew were activated and rescue swimmers responded directly to the scene.
On arrival on the scene, an NSRI rescue swimmer made an assessment of the situation and decided to swim across the gulley to the 2 children who were trapped on the ledge.
On reaching them the children, a female aged 13 and a male aged 15, friends, from Howick, they were found to be slightly hypothermic and anxious.
Due to the rising tide level, the casualties were moved by the NSRI rescue swimmer to a higher position on the rock ledge to escape the surf that was breaking on the rocks.
Rescue resources from IPSS medical rescue and additional NSRI shore crew arrived and it was decided that IPSS would launch their jet-ski from Chaka's Rock beach and proceed to the casualties position approaching from the seaside.
While this took place the 2 casualties were fitted with life jackets and briefed by the NSRI rescue swimmer on a plan to get them to safety.
The NSRI rescue swimmer helped the 2 children to get into the water off the rocks and he initiated swimming the 2 children into the mid-break towards the jet ski that was approaching from behind the backline.
An IPSS rescue swimmer and an additional NSRI rescue swimmer entered the water and they reached the NSRI rescue swimmer, who was gradually assisting the children towards the back breaker line, and together they swam the casualties through the surf to the awaiting jet-ski.
The jet-ski then towed all 5 persons beyond the breaking waves further out to sea for safety.
Once all were behind the breakers the 2 casualties and one of the rescue swimmers were taken onboard the IPSS rescue jet-ski and ferried back to shore safely to Chaka's Rock main beach where they were taken into the care of IPSS paramedics.
The remaining 2 rescue swimmers, from IPSS and from NSRI remained offshore and waited for the IPSS rescue jet-ski to return and they were brought safely to shore aboard the jet-ski.
The 2 children were treated for mild hypothermia and some scratches and bruises before being taken into the care of their parents.
At 14h50 NSRI Queberha duty crew launched the sea rescue craft Spirit of Toft, accompanied by Eastern Cape Government Health EMS rescue paramedics, to patient evacuate a Pakistani sailor, aboard a bulk carrier, suffering a medical emergency.
On arrival at the vessel, 18 nautical miles off-shore, an EMS rescue paramedic and 2 NSRI rescue swimmers boarded the motor vessel and took a 65-year-old male into their care.
Finding him to be in a serious condition he was stabilised before being secured into a Stokes basket stretcher before being moved down 4 flights of stairs with the ship's crew assisting in moving the patient.
Due to confined spaces a technical effort was commenced to take the patient down the 4 flights of stairs - this took an hour.
In a technical high-angle rescue operation, the patient was transferred from the motor vessel onto our NSRI rescue craft.
In the care of the EMS rescue paramedics he was brought to our NSRI Queberha rescue station and he has been transported to the hospital by EMS ambulance in a serious but stable condition.
We commend the ship's crew for their assistance during this operation.
At 14h56, Friday, 7 October, NSRI Melkbosstrand duty crew were alerted to a local adult female requiring medical assistance on Tableview Beach.
NSRI Melkbosstrand crew, WC Government Health EMS, Netcare 911 ambulance services, Big Bay Lifesaving lifeguards and Community Medics responded.
On arrival on the scene it was found that a public member had assisted the 25-year-old lady, from Boston, out of the water.
She was suffering non-fatal drowning symptoms and she was treated on the beach by paramedics before being transported to the hospital in stable condition by ambulance.
NSRI commend Anthony Benadie who assisted the lady to get out of the water.
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