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Thanks to the swift response from NSRI Station 3 (Table Bay), a swimmer struggling in choppy waters was safely retrieved.

On a crisp summer morning on 11 May, a tourist from East London decided to go for a swim in Bantry Bay, Cape Town. The seas were not calm that morning, and before long, he found himself in trouble when what appeared to be a set of waves developed further out to sea, blocking his path back to shore.

Eye-witnesses on the scene raised the alarm, and NSRI Station 3 (Table Bay), Station 2 (Bakoven) and the City of Cape Town (CoCT) water rescue network were activated at 9.24am.

Thankfully, Station 3’s rescue craft was already in the water nearby, and was diverted to respond while NSRI rescue swimmers, the Station 3 rescue vehicle and CoCT Law Enforcement officers also responded.

On arrival at the scene, shore rescue controllers confirmed that the man appeared to be okay, able to swim and stay afloat, but he was struggling in the rough sea and incoming wave sets, according to Station 3 duty controller Davide del Fante.

By this stage, the NSRI rescue craft was still about three minutes away, so an NSRI rescue swimmer ran into the waves with their rescue board to provide assistance, and was nearing the man when the rescue craft arrived. After the craft’s crew negotiated the incoming wave sets to reach the man, he was safely brought on board, as captured on video by photographer Reece Sheldon.

The relieved tourist was given a blanket to recover from mild hypothermia, and brought to shore. Grateful friends brought extra clothes when they came to collect him, and he left the scene without requiring further assistance.

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