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NSRI Wilderness and George Fire and Rescue Services are assisting the Police Dive Unit continuing in an ongoing search for an 18 year old student male who remains missing at Wilderness. Also, A 70 year old German tourist is recovering in hospital following a paragliding accident on Thursday, 9 March. Southern Cape Tourism are assisting the man and his wife. Additionally, On Saturday, 11 March, at 11h48, NSRI Wilderness and the Police Dive Unit responded to Lake Pleasant, Sedgefield following a request for assistance from 2 rowing boats with 5 children, 2 adults and a dog on board. And An East London adult man was safely rescued off-shore of Bantry Bay on Saturday, 11 March. Lastly, At 11h35, Saturday, 11 March, NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) received an NSRI RSA SafeTrax activation indicating a double paddleski suffering rudder failure off shore of Cooper Lighthouse about 6 nautical miles South of Durban.


Mike Vonk, NSRI Wilderness station commander, said:


A Fire and Rescue Services rescue craft, a Police Dive Unit dive boat and 3 NSRI Wilderness rescue craft have launched to search at sea while shore patrols are being conducted.

In other incidents:

NSRI Wilderness and WC Government Health EMS were activated at 17h08 and responded to the accident location East near to the Views Hotel.

ARCC (Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre) were notified.

The man had been paragliding and suffered injuries in an accident.

He was stabilised on the scene by NSRI medics and EMS paramedics before being transported to hospital by EMS ambulance in a` serious but stable condition.

Wishes of a speedy recovery have been conveyed to the family by NSRI and the emergency services.


Mike Vonk, NSRI Wilderness station commander, said:

Their boats had been blown across the lake by a fresh westerly wind and needed assistance to return to shore.

The Police Dive Unit was close Sedgefield, having been involved in a joint search operation with NSRI earlier in the day and was first to arrive on scene.

Their dive boat was launched with an NSRI crew member on board. The NSRI rescue craft, Oscar’s Rescue, which is stored at the Wilderness satellite station in Sedgefield was also towed to scene and was on standby to assist.

It was confirmed by an NSRI Wilderness trainee crewman who was on the casualty boat that all passengers were safe and secured into life-jackets but unable to navigate to shore.

On arrival on the scene, the children were transferred onto the SAPS Dive Unit vessel and the NSRI crew member and a Police diver were transferred onto one of the casualty vessels.

The casualty boats were towed safely to shore without incident and no further assistance was required.


Video By Reece Sheldon

Davide del Fante, NSRI Table Bay duty controller said:

The tourist from the Eastern Cape had entered reasonably rough seas from Bantry Bay to go for a swim behind the wave line at Bantry Bay when a set of waves appear to have developed further out to sea in his path causing him to get into difficulty.

Eye-witnesses raised the alarm.

NSRI Table Bay, NSRI Bakoven and the City of Cape Town (CoCT) water rescue network were activated at 09h24.

The NSRI Table Bay rescue craft, at sea at the time, diverted to respond while NSRI rescue swimmers, the NSRI Table Bay rescue vehicle and CoCT Law Enforcement officers responded.

On arrival on the scene shore rescue controllers confirmed that the man appeared to be okay, able to swim and stay afloat, but he was in some difficulties and threatened by rough sea conditions and the incoming wave sets.

At that stage the NSRI rescue craft were 3 minutes from arriving on the scene.

An NSRI rescue swimmer launched on a rescue board and was nearing the man when the rescue craft arrived and negotiated the incoming wave sets to reach the man.

He was taken onboard the rescue craft.

The rescue craft also collected the NSRI rescue swimmer and dropped him off closer to shore to paddle back to shore on the rescue board.

The casualty was provided a blanket to rewarm from hypothermia.

The casualty was brought to the NSRI Table Bay rescue station and he was collected by friends who brought his clothes and he required no further assistance.


Clifford Ireland, NSRI Durban coxswain, said:

NSRI Durban crew, who were engaged in a training exercise, responded aboard the NSRI rescue craft Alick Rennie to the GPS coordinates provided by NSRI RSA SafeTrx and at 12h00 found both casualties, a local couple, safe on their paddleski and adrift about 2 nautical miles offshore.

The casualties and paddleski were taken onboard the Alick Rennie and brought back to the NSRI Durban rescue station without incident.

NSRI transported them to their vehicle and they required no further assistance.

NSRI commend the paddlers for their responsible use of the NSRI RSA SafeTrax smart phone application which facilitated a swift and appropriate rescue.

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