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One of five inland bases, the NSRI’s ‘Harties’ station has been operating since 2003.

Affectionately known as ‘Harties’, Hartbeespoort Dam is a playground for water-sport lovers, which means the rescue crew are kept busy. The Station 25 crew have been called out for drownings, suicide calls, vehicles driving into the dam, high angle rescues, boat and water sport rescues, and even animal rescues.

Current station commander Arthur Crewe is in his element, as rescue work has always been in his blood. “I grew up on the dam, so it came naturally to me. I’ve been in the medical, rescue and law enforcement industries my whole life, and have my own ambulance and rescue training company,” he says. Response times have improved dramatically – from hours to minutes – during his tenure (starting 2019).

Although there have been many memorable rescues executed by the Harties crew, one gut-wrenching one stands out for Arthur. “It involved an 11-year-old girl,” he says. “She fell off her father’s boat and, without realising where she was, he rode over her. Her left arm was amputated by the propeller. We were on the scene within three to four minutes, stabilised her and requested a helicopter to airlift her to hospital. I know we saved her life.”

Currently, Station 25 – which won the Best RIB station award for 2021 – has a crew of eight.

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