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At 17h08, Monday, 29 January, NSRI Wilderness were alerted to eyewitness reports of a paraglider accident at Gericke’s Point, Sedgefield.

NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) and ARCC (Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre) were alerted while NSRI Wilderness duty crew, our NSRI rescue vehicle, NSRI lifeguards, WC Government Health EMS rescue squad and EMS rescue paramedics, a Metro Rescue all terrain vehicle, Knysna Fire and Rescue Services and ER24 ambulance services were activated.

Rescue resources responded and on arrival at Swartvlei Beach our NSRI all terrain rescue vehicle was utilised to transport rescuers and equipment closer to the scene along the beach.

As more rescue resources arrived a Metro Rescue all terrain vehicle ferried additional personnel, resources and equipment.

Reaching as far as the rescue team could go by vehicle until prevented from proceeding any further due to rocky terrain and the peak of high tide, the rescue party then hiked to the casualty while additional responding rescue resources were collected and ferried to the nearest landmark (to also hike) to join in the rescue operation.

The first rescue team arriving at the accident scene, on rocky terrain, initiated medical care to a male paraglider, age 50, a tourist from Germany, who had sustained serious injuries after, it appears, he collided into a rocky sand dune while paragliding.

The patient was stabilised on the scene by paramedics before being secured into a Stokes basket stretcher and hiked, in the care of paramedics, assisted by rescue personnel and by public members (who were lending a hand) to where rescue vehicles were standing by.

The patient was transported, by a Metro Rescue all terrain vehicle, along the beach, to the Swartvlei Beach parking area.

The patient was transported to hospital in a serious but stable condition by ER24 ambulance.

All emergency services involved are commended for the swift response and the cooperation in this rescue operation (made difficult by the remote location and by the terrain we faced).

The public members who assisted are commended for their willingness assisting and lending a hand.

The patient remains in the care of doctors and nurses in hospital in a stable condition.

Care and thoughts are with the family and friends of the injured paraglider.

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