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NSRI EMERGENCY
OPERATION CENTRE (EOC)

087 094 9774

Several incidents took place across the Southern Cape including Wilderness, Port Alfred, Storms River and Saldanha Bay.

WILDERNESS:

Cassia Mildner, NSRI Wilderness duty coxswain, said:

At 13h35, Wednesday, 26 June, NSRI Wilderness duty crew were activated following an eyewitness report from a local resident reporting a drowning in progress at Wilderness Beach near to Touw River Lagoon Mouth.

NSRI Wilderness rescue swimmers responded directly to the scene and our NSRI rescue vehicle was dispatched.

NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) activated WC Government Health EMS.

An EMS rescue squad, EMS ambulance and ER 24 ambulance services responded.

While responding to the scene it was confirmed by the eyewitness that 2 males were in the water appearing to be caught in rip currents.

On arrival on the scene 1 of the casualties was out of the water, on the beach and in need of medical care, and 1 of the casualties was still in the water but close to shore and he exited the water without assistance.

The casualty requiring medical care, a 19 year old male, was treated by NSRI medics, EMS paramedics and ER24 paramedics, for hypothermia and for non-fatal drowning symptoms. His cousin, age 17, was not injured.

We believe that while they were swimming the 19 year old had been caught in rip currents when the 17 year old went to his assistance and together they were able to get back to the beach.

The 19 year old was transported to hospital by ER24 ambulance in a stable condition where he recovered in the care of doctors and nurses and was discharged later requiring no further assistance.

They are both South African, now living in Finland, and we believe they are in Wilderness on a holiday.

The swift response by all services and the vigilance of the eyewitness, who raised the alarm, is commended.

PORT ALFRED:

Chris Pike, NSRI port Alfred station commander, said:

On Sunday, 23 June, at 08h30, NSRI Port Alfred duty crew were activated following reports from 2 crew of a boat taking on water after being hit by a wave in the Kowie River Mouth, while exiting the Kowie River to go to sea, and adrift in distress with motor mechanical failure.

NSRI Port Alfred crew responded directly to the scene while our NSRI rescue craft Lotto Challenger and NSRI rescue craft JetRib Spirit of Kenton were launched.

On arrival on the scene we found both local men had abandoned their boat that was washing towards the Pier.

Both rescued from the water onto our rescue craft.

In unfavourable sea conditions, with the 2 casualty men safe onboard our rescue craft, we deemed it unsafe to try to tow the casualty boat, a fishing ski-boat, back in through heavy sea swells in the river mouth during the outgoing Spring tide.

By that stage the casualty vessel had drifted outwards of the river mouth where we rigged a towline and towed the casualty boat further out of the river mouth to a safe distance about a nautical mile out to sea where we safely anchored the casualty craft.

Later, at the turning tide, around 13h00, we returned to the casualty vessel and rigged a towline and we towed the vessel safely in through the river mouth without incident and we recovered their casualty craft.

The 2 men were not injured and were commended for wearing their life-jackets during their launch and for raising the alarm swiftly when they got into trouble.
SALDANHA BAY:

Nic Stevens, NSRI Mykonos station commander, said:

On Sunday, 23 June, at 14h00 NSRI Mykonos duty crew, while on routine training at Langebaan Lagoon, were activated to assist a fishing vessel 30 nautical miles off-shore of Saldanha reporting motor mechanical failure.

The NSRI Mykonos rescue vessel Spirit of Vodacom was dispatched.

On arrival on the scene a towline was rigged and we towed the vessel to the fishing jetty at the Port of Saldanha Bay.

Our NSRI Mykonos rescue craft Rotary Burnett was launched that assisted to get the vessel into the harbour and she was berthed without incident and no further assistance was required.

The operation completed at 20h30.
TSITSIKAMMA:

Lodewyk van Rensburg, NSRI Oyster Bay station commander, said:

On Friday, 21 June, at 13h06, NSRI Storms River and NSRI Oyster Bay duty crews were activated following reports from SA National Parks (SANPark) Tsitsikamma rangers of a lady injured at the waterfall, on the Storms River trail.

SANPark Tsitsikamma rangers, NSRI Storms River crew and NSRI Oyster Bay crew responded.

Relay ambulance services were activated, and EC Government Health EMS were alerted.

Concerns were raised when bystanders on the scene reported that the incident was close to the shoreline with an incoming Spring tide close to high tide.

NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) investigated the availability of the EMS/AMS Skymed rescue helicopter with EMS Metro Control. It was confirmed that the rescue helicopter would shortly be available and was in the Knysna area at the time.

On arrival on the scene SANPark Tsitsikamma rangers and NSRI Storms River crew assessed the 55 year old Italian female tourist finding her to be in a serious condition following what appears to have been injuries sustained when the lady slipped and fell while on the hiking trail. They were joined on the scene by NSRI Oyster Bay crew.

Her husband had gone to the Storms River car park and then he drove to the SANParks main gate to raise the alarm.

Bystander Good Samaritans stayed with the patient until rescue resources had arrived on the scene. They are commended for their assistance.

With ongoing medical treatment continuing the scene the patient was stabilised.

EMS Metro Control dispatched the EMS/AMS Skymed rescue helicopter.

An LZ (landing zone) was established at the car park.

The husband had been located and he was brought to the landing zone area.

On the helicopter arriving on the scene a paramedic was hoisted down to the scene, with additional medical equipment, where the patient, in a stable condition, was secured into a specialised scoop stretcher and, accompanied by the paramedic, the patient was hoisted to the side of the rescue helicopter and she was airlifted to the landing zone.

In a serious but stable condition the patient was transported to a hospital in Knysna by the Relay ambulance.

The patient recovered in hospital before being discharged.

NSRI commends the swift response and assistance of all services involved.

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