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26 December 2011

NSRI - National Sea Rescue Institute News

Image: NSRI  Port Alfred

Rescue for Port Alfred and Port Edward help with rolled golf cart



At 06h50 NSRI Port Alfred volunteer sea rescue duty crew were activated following an off-duty NSRI volunteer witnessing a boat capsize in the Kowie River Mouth with 5 persons thrown off the boat into the water in the surf line.

Keryn van der Walt, off duty NSRI Port Alfred volunteer, was busy with her private business skipper training at the harbour pier wall when she watched as a Catamaran rigid inflatable craft with 4 adults and a child onboard, exit the harbour through the Kowie River Mouth, heading out to sea, during an outgoing Spring Tide.
“The boat successfully negotiated a few waves as she headed out,” said Keryn, “but a steep, set of waves rolled in (when there is an outgoing Spring tide at the Kowie River Mouth the waves stand up steep in a very short space of time and also bunch closely together) and a wave caused the boat to almost stand up straight and hang in the air as it tried negotiate its way over the wave but one of the crew fell backwards landing on the child and knocking another crew member backwards and their combined weight shifting suddenly to the back of the boat caused the boat to flip over backwards.
All 5 people in the water managed to clamber onto the upturned hull of the boat which was then swept out to sea beyond the breakers by the outgoing Spring tide.

Keryn activated the NSRI Port Alfred volunteer sea rescue duty crew and then jumped onto one of her students boats, JACKO, and her and the student rushed to the scene successfully taking all 5 people off the upturned hull of the capsized boat and securing a tow-line to the casualty boat and the NSRI sea rescue craft RESCUE 11 ALPHA arrived on-scene and took all 5 casualties safely back to the harbour while Kerryn and her student kept the casualty boat secured off-shore.

Once all 5 casualties were safely ashore the NSRI sea rescue crew then launched the larger sea rescue boat KOWIE RESCUER and together with JACKO they righted the casualty craft and anchored her off-shore to be recovered when the sea state subsides later.

The 5 casualties, boat owner Tobias Pienaar, 49, and crew Eddie Roos, 49, Johan Roos, 21, Dawie Hugo, 55, and the 12 year old son of Tobias, all from Port Alfred, were not injured and the brave 12 year old was treated for shock but was otherwise not injured.


At 15h30 NSRI Port Edward volunteer sea rescue duty crew were activated to respond, by road, to the Estuary Hotel Resort, near to the Lagoon, where a 35 year old woman, an employee of the hotel resort, had rolled a golf buggy sustaining injuries.

uBunthu lifeguards were also called to help and Hibiscus Medivac ambulance service was activated.

On arrival on-scene NSRI medics assisted the lifeguards, who were already on-scene treating the woman, who had a suspected hip fracture. She has been transported to hospital in a stable condition by ambulance for further treatment.

Image: NSRI Wilderness

Busy Christmas Day for NSRI volunteers

National SUNDAY 25th DECEMBER 2011. Incidents: East London, Wilderness, Richards Bay:


Geoff McGregor, NSRI East London station commander, said:

At 09h55 on Sunday, 25th December NSRI East London duty crew were activated following reports of a drowning in progress at Morgan Bay, approximately 40 kilometers North East of East London, on the Eastern Cape coastline.

NSRI volunteer sea rescue duty crewman, Andrew Keil, nearby to the scene at the time, was activated and Metro EMS, a Metro EMS helicopter, the SA Police Services and Aldersons ambulance service were activated.

On arrival it was found that Kathleen Bradfield, 35, of Bloemfontein, had been swept out to sea by strong rip-currents made worse by the Lagoon, which normally does not flow into the sea, now flowing into the sea after the spring high tide had breached the Lagoon wall, but her brother had managed to rescue her out of the surf.

Andrew began treatment on the woman, who was in a serious condition, and on their arrival on-scene paramedics took over treatment. She has been airlifted to hospital, by the Metro EMS helicopter, in a stable but serious condition.


Hennie Niehaus, NSRI Wilderness station commander, said:

At 11h16 on Sunday, 25th December NSRI Wilderness volunteers were activated following reports of two children, a boy and girl, both aged approximately 13, being swept out to sea at Victoria Bay.

Lifeguards, on duty at the beach, responded and NSRI activated our sea rescue craft SERENDIPITY and our DISCOVERY rescue runner.
The SA Police Services, Metro EMS and the Metro EMS Skymed helicopter were activated.

On arrival we found that lifeguards had rescued both patients from the water. The boy had sunk beneath the sea surface when lifeguards had reached him but the lifeguards had managed to successfully rescue both children bringing them to shore and treatment was administered on-scene by Metro EMS paramedics before both were airlifted by the Metro EMS Skymed helicopter to hospital. The girl was in a stable condition and the boy in a stable but serious condition and resuscitation efforts were continued in the helicopter on the male en route to hospital.

It was not clear at the time where the children are from.


Dorian Robertson, NSRI Richards Bay station commander, said:

At 12h43 on Sunday, 25th December NSRI Richards Bay volunteer sea rescue duty crew, on station at the time doing routine equipment checks, were called out following peoples screams from the nearby bay wall recreational area, which is a mere 500 meters from our sea rescue base, indicating a drowning in progress.

One of our NSRI rescue swimmers, Jaco van der Walt, ran to the scene while we activated our sea rescue vehicle as well as also Netcare 911 ambulance services, the SA Police Services and Umhlatuze Fire and Rescue Services.

On arrival Jaco found bystanders helping two small children out of the water and a third child lying face down and still in the water. Jaco leapt into the water and rescued the small child and once ashore immediately commenced Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation efforts after he found the patient to be breathless and pulseless.

On our arrival, a few minutes later, we confirmed that the child, a 5 year old boy, had no pulse and no breathing, and CPR was continued by our NSRI medics for a good ten minutes before a pulse was restored and after paramedics arrived and took over with the resuscitation efforts eventually the patient began to also breath spontaneously but remained in a serious condition.

The remaining two children, a 5 year old boy and a 3 year old boy, who had been rescued by bystanders, were showing signs and symptoms of near drowning and all 3 children have been transported to hospital by ambulances.

Police are attempting to track down the children’s parents who were reportedly at the same recreational area at the time of the incident but it appears that they may not have known that their children were rescued and rushed to hospital as no one came forward to claim the children.

It was not clear at the time if the children were related nor where they are from but it appears that they were together in a group when the incident happened.

It is not clear what caused the children to get into difficulty (if they were swimming or if they had fallen off the wall into the Bay) but at the time the Spring low tide had turned and the Spring high tide was building up.

Other emergency services that arrived on-scene to assist were the Umhlatuze Traffic Services, ICE Medical Rescue, Meditrax ambulance services and Casavac Medical Rescue

NSRI are urgently appealing to bathers and anglers to be extra cautious between now and the middle of this week because the new moon Spring tide has fallen directly in the path of the expected festive season influx of vacationers to the coast.