I can save a life! What can you do? Not all heroes have fancy names and multi-coloured robes. The Waterwise campaign is an NSRI programme that educates children about the importance of water safety. It also empowers them with the life saving skill of CPR. With 61% of drowning cases happening at dams, lakes and the sea, this initiative trains kids and fishermen to react to these situations. Minimizing the number of deaths and giving rise to a whole new generation of heroes.
MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE
WE INVITE YOU TO AIR YOUR VIEWS, STATE YOUR CONCERNS OR SHARE YOUR COMMENTS WITH FELLOW MEMBERS OF THE SEA RESCUE FAMILY
Congratulations to Charles Hunting. You’ve won a case of Slaley Wines. From one winemaker to another, we do hope you will enjoy the excellent vintages in this range.
STATION 10 TO THE RESCUE On the evening of the 14 June 2008, Hans Jelbert, his daughter Roda, Adrian van Reenen and myself were sailing from Hout Bay to Gordon’s Bay on Genii 2. It was an uneventful voyage until we rounded Cape Point, where the weather became notoriously wild. A half an hour later, Hans went below deck, only to discover we were taking on water in the port hull. Hans immediately took control and we all took our lead from him – Adrian at the helm making nearest land fall, myself and Roda bailing, and Hans in knee-deep water with his sleeping bag trying to locate an ellusive hole in the hull. Within ten minutes we were pitched at an alarming angle and every minute the angle would increase a little bit more. The water started to come into the saloon. Hans was still desperately trying to get the water flow under control, but soon realised it was hopeless. He immediately tried to call a mayday, but our radio had shorted. He ordered me to take the bolt cutter and cut the life raft, which happened to be on the front port hull. By this stage, the life raft was under water and I had difficulty cutting the chain that secures it to the boat. (We had to chain it down because of the potential theft threat. What a mistake!) I managed to cut through both links and release the life raft. Hans had called his wife by cellphone, and she immediately contacted the NSRI, giving them our location, and all our cellphone numbers. The NSRI immediately called us. Adrian and Hans were in the raging storm trying desperately to inflate a life raft
with all instructions in Chinese. Roda and I stayed on the stricken vessel which was on the point of capsizing. When they eventually inflated the life raft, they were thankfully able to pull us aboard. I have never had the opportunity to be in a washing machine, but I believe being in a life raft off Cape Point on a wild sea is pretty close. Hans immediately took the time, 22h05, and fired the first flare. He fired a flare every 15 minutes. We were stuck on a life raft with no communication, and no idea if there was a search party out. It felt like hours and hours had passed. Hans had shot five flares by then. I was getting hypothermic, and was wretching every five minutes with nothing left in my stomach, except bile. As I stuck my head out of the raft, I saw the most wonderful sight – a weak searchlight playing over a huge arch, cutting through the blackness and spray. We immediately lit a hand-held flare and
ILLUSTRATION: DARRYL EDWARDES
NSRI HEAD OFFICE: 1 Glengariff Road, Three Anchor Bay, Cape Town, 8001 / PO Box 154, Green Point, 8051 Tel: +2721 434-4011 Fax: +2721 434-1661 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
OUR REGIONAL OFFICES DURBAN: Durban Rescue Base, Small Craft Basin, Point Waterfront, Durban / PO Box 38446, Point, 4069 Tel: +2731 332-9772 Fax: +2731 332-9773 Email: email@example.com PORT ELIZABETH: 216 Cape Road, Mill Park, Port Elizabeth, 6001 / PO Box 7909, Newton Park, Port Elizabeth, 6055 Tel: +2741 374-8315 Fax: +2741 374-8316 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org GAUTENG: Bouhof, 31 Robin Hood Road, Robindale, Randburg, 2194 / PO Box 3432, Pinegowrie, 2123 Tel: +2711 888-5451 Fax: +2711 888-5458 Email: email@example.com
SEA RESCUE > SUMMER 2008
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING EACH YEAR, WE HOLD OUR AGM WHERE FINANCIALS ARE PRESENTED, AWARDS ARE GIVEN AND THEN THE FLOOR IS OPEN FOR QUESTIONS. NOT ALL CHARITIES HAVE OPEN BOOKS, BUT WE BELIEVE IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO
OUTGOING CHAIRMAN’S REPORT Achieving positive results in any organisation is preceded by developing a sound business plan that takes into account all the merits and demerits of pursuing the set objectives. Likewise, the NSRI’s remarkable achievements and successes during the past financial year can be directly attributed to the ever-improving planning, coordinating, managing and implementing of skills and in-house expertise. Not only do we refer to the financial achievements but also to the success rate in saving lives. While the business plan will guide us in our quest to continuously deliver better rescue services, we will remain focussed on our goals to ensure we deliver on our mandate. Core to the future of the NSRI will be how well we manage our relationships with the multiplicity of stakeholders who are connected in one way or another with our Institute. All of us at the NSRI wish to express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to all the donor members, sponsors, the South African public, as well as the public sector for their continued financial support since the NSRI’s inception. It is also my privilege to pay special tribute to our volunteer crews for their absolute commitment to saving lives, to our station commanders, national technical committee, regional directors and other board members for their input and dedication in taking the NSRI to new heights. We cannot escape the slowing down of the
economy and our future results will reflect the impact of this period. As an Institute depending on grants and donations, we have to compete effectively for funding on a daily basis. Any organisation needs to be known for something specific. Having a proper brand strategy means knowing exactly what we are good at, knowing how to show all South Africans that we have those qualities and knowing how they add up to a whole that is unique, distinctive and attractive. Our brand must always be defined as a promise which is kept. Stretching ourselves to be the best is what will give us the edge in our drive to remain world class and to maintain a financially sound organisation. Much remains to be done and, with a clear focus, we are confident that the NSRI is properly prepared for further positive change during the next ten years. It is a fact that leadership determines the destiny of an organisation, therefore, I would like to pay special tribute to the head office leadership under the able guidance of the chief executive Ian Wienburg. Personally, it has been an enjoyable experience to have served the NSRI as a director since 1995, and as chairperson for the past ten years. Thank you for allowing me this honour. Hennie Taljaard Chairman (Report has been shortened)
SILVER GALLANTRY AWARD This award was given to André Fletcher of Station 5 (Durban), for his gallantry, skill and initiative on the evening of 17 June 2008 when, as a rescue swimmer, operating from the Durban National Ports Authority Augusta 109E helicopter ZS-RRB, he rescued three people from almost certain drowning in a raging sea. That afternoon, the 34foot yacht Eggnog with three crew onboard, was caught in a force 7 gale with 4m swells and heavy rain squalls just 1.5 miles off the KwaZuluNatal coast, some 40nm south of Durban.
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Eikos Rescuer was launched, but she made very slow progress in the appalling weather conditions. It was decided to attempt a helicopter rescue instead and, as dusk was gathering, André volunteered to be the rescue swimmer. After a 40-minute flight and in deteriorating weather conditions (a 100-foot cloud base and a gale blowing in excess of 35 knots), Eggnog was located. It was dark, and in the prevailing conditions impossible to take the crew off the yacht’s deck. They were instructed to jump into the sea, from where they would be hoisted aboard the helicopter. Acting without thought for his own safety and concerned only for the welfare of the three persons in distress, André Fletcher’s gallantry, skill and perseverance in the face of daunting odds that night was in the very best traditions of the National Sea Rescue Institute. This award is the highest that has been given since the new awards system was adopted in September 1998. Collective Directors’ Thanks Certificates on Vellum were presented to the flight crew: Rhys Mason (pilot), Douglas Nichols (co-pilot) and Gerhan Coezee (flight engineer/winchman). Read the full story on page 10.
Andre Nel & Shift 2, City of Tshwane Fire Brigade Services, saved pregnant woman from burning building.
Jannie Meiring and Mamakgowa Rataemane, Ambulance Crew, Netcare 911 Gauteng, rescued two from plane crash.
Abel Sethole and Life Mathebula, Ambulance Crew, Netcare 911 Limpopo, pulled man from burning car.
Adel Supra, Platoon Commander, Cape Winelands Fire Department, rescued man from car crash off cliff.
Andre Fletcher, Volunteer Crewman, National Sea Rescue Institute, saved crew of yacht from turbulent seas.
INTRODUCING THE 2008 CENTRUM GUARDIAN PROJECT FINALISTS These emergency and rescue services personnel put their lives on the line to save those of strangers in distress. Centrumâ€™s Guardian Project rewards those who go beyond the call of duty.
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REAL LIFE vasgehou het, maar dat die omstandighede dit net onmoontlik gemaak het om hom weer te bereik toe hy uit sy baadjie geglip het. Die vermiste seun se familie het haar ontmoet en dit was ook Mossie wat later die nuus aan hulle oorgedra het toe sy liggaam op die strand uitgespoel het. Ons bedank ook die noodpersoneel van Mosselbaai en George. Van die ambulanse op die toneel, die Mosselbaai Brandweer tot die polisiemanne – ’n baie groot dankie vir julle bystand. Dankie ook aan die manne en vroue van die NSRI op Mosselbaai. Jul optrede was iets om op trots te wees. Dawie Zwiegelaar, Stasie Bevelvoerder, Stasie 15 (Mosselbaai) CODE RED CALL-OUT Ek het Woensdag 24 September in the vroeg namiddag ’n ‘code red callout’ gekry en soos gewoonlik vir John Deacon gebel om te hoor waarheen ek moet gaan. Hy het gesê daar’s mense by Groot Brak in die moeilikheid. Ek het onmiddellik soontoe gery. Daar gekom het ek my na die strand gehaas. Dit het ’n paar sekondes geneem om te verneem waarheen ek moet swem maar ek kon onmiddellik sien dat meer as een blou dryfbaadjies sigbaar was. Ek het ingeswem en redelik vinnig tot by een blou baadjie gekom, die persoon se kop opgelig, omgedraai en begin terugswem. ’n Branderplankryer het tot by ons gekom, waarna ’n brander my onderstebo geslaan het en ek het onder die branderplank beland. Ek het gevoel hoe die persoon wat ek vasgehou het uit sy dryfbaadjie glip en het vergeefs probeer voel waar hy is. Van toe af was daar aanhoudend branders – dit was moeilik om asem te kry. Daar was nou twee branderplankryers met hulle branderplanke. Ek kon nie veel uitmaak nie, want ek was meer onder die branders as bo. Ek het tevergeefs probeer uitswem, maar die stroom het sterk teruggetrek. Ek was net bewus van die twee ander blou baadjies met mense daaraan wat naby my dryf. Ek kon ons reddingsboot uitmaak en kon sien dat hulle baie mooi moes kophou om die Surf 420 regop te hou in die ontstuimige branders. Ek het die twee drywende seuns met hulle blou dryfbaadjies wat by my was vir hulle aangegee om op die boot te tel. Daarna het hulle teruggekom om my op te pik. Van my kant wil ek baie dankie se vir Donald se flinke teenwoordigheid en dat hy twee lewens kon red. Ek bewonder jou dapperheid. En baie dankie aan Dawie en Justin wat die onstuimige branders trotseer het. Ek het net weer besef hoe onvoorspelbaar die see kan wees. Baie dankie aan NSRI Mosselbaai Stasie 15 en die kinders se ouers vir al julle ondersteuning en liefde. Julle is almal soos familie vir my. Mossie (Alta) Haschick, vrywilliger, Stasie 15 (Mosselbaai)
INNIGE MEEGEVOEL Wat ’n hoogtepunt vir die toer in die Tuinroete kon gewees het, het in ’n tragedie geëindig. Woensdagmiddag het drie seuns van die Hoërskool Die Anker van Brakpan verdrink terwyl hulle besig was om te ‘wave raft’. Hiermee wil ons ons dank uitspreek teenoor die NSRI, die Polisie, die nooddienste, huisouers van die NG Kerk Jeugsentrum op Hartenbos, predikante, beraders, die burgemeester van Mosselbaai, vriende, die skoolhoof en adjunkhoof wat dadelik hierheen gehaas het, en die hele gemeenskap wat gehelp het tydens die tragedie. Die NSRI en Polisie was feitlik dadelik op die toneel en het met soveel empatie en simpatie opgetree. Ons innige meegevoel ook aan die ouers van die drie seuns. Henry Pratt (Get Out Expeditions) en Hanneke Nel (Tuinroete Omgewingsopvoeding) YOU NEVER GET USED TO IT On the day of the incident, I went into the office to complete work that needed attention. In the early afternoon, Statcom Hennie Niehaus phoned and asked if I could assist NSRI Mossel Bay with a rescue at Great Brak River. While I was en route, he phoned again and told me to hurry, as there were multiple people needing assistance and the situation was serious. Usually I sum up a situation from the information given to me on the phone while I’m on my way to a scene, and come up with a way to handle the rescue. But, I didn’t have a defined plan for nine people in difficulty. Before I knew what I was doing, I had flagged down a passing car (CA registration with two surfboards on top), and asked the occupants if they would agree to provide help. They said ‘yes’. I will never forget the scene as I came over the dune and found a group of people on the water’s edge, looking on helplessly at the nine children in trouble in the surf. Everybody was quiet... The rip current was very strong and the sea water cold. My first attempt to reach a survivor was unsuccessful, and I noticed three children floating face down as the current pulled me into the impact zone onto the backline. The rip current was like a river in flood, making its own waves as the result of the immense drawback. It kept swirling in circles, the sets so frequent that I hardly had time to take a breath before the next wave was on top of me. I managed to get out of this constant pounding by escaping onto a sandbank. I noticed a survivor approximately 20m away from me and 40m offshore in the rip current. I swam off the sandbank and used the current to reach him before proceeding towards the beach. During this time, I noticed two or three people on the sandbank in the surf helping themselves to safety, and saw Mossie from NSRI Mossel Bay entering the sea. By this time, the surfers were also already in the water assisting those in need. After I reached the beach, I paused to determine where the other survivors were before returning to the surf. Mossie and one of the surfers were assisting a casualty in the water. I headed back, to assist a survivor, who was approximately 80m offshore and hanging onto an oar. I timed the current to reach him, and we then proceeded to make our way back to shore, but because of the natural course of the rip current, we ended up in the impact zone of the backline. We used the breaking waves to wash us onto the same sandbank I had used earlier. This was a relatively comfortable place to be under the circumstances
SEA RESCUE > SUMMER 2008
SURFSKI As anyone who reads Surfski.info knows, there have been several incidents in recent years where the NSRI has been called out to rescue surfskiers in trouble. The purpose of our exercise was for the NSRI to gain some familiarity with surfskis under controlled conditions, and for the paddlers to understand the challenges facing the NSRI. We also wanted to try out various types of safety gear, and to learn more about the drift rates of disabled skis. Sea Rescue made available the Vodacom Netcare911 Surf Rescue helicopter, as well as the Station 10 (Simon’s Town) rescue vessels. We were fortunate with the weather, which saw us paddling in classic downwind conditions: the 25-30 knot winds and 1-2m breaking waves provided realistic conditions. We decided to do two runs, one with the helicopter and one with the sea craft.
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EARLIER THIS YEAR, ROB MOUSLEY ORGANISED A SURFSKI EXERCISE DAY WITH STATION 10 (SIMON’S TOWN) CREW. BOTH RESCUERS AND SURFSKIERS GAINED MUCH VALUABLE INSIGHT. ROB TELLS US MORE
We had three skis at our disposal – two were plain white, and one red. I was wearing an orange long-sleeved shirt and a red personal flotation device (PFD); Wayne Borchardt wore a blue shirt with a bright orange PFD; and Gordon Brown wore a black sleeveless wetsuit with a black PFD.
AIR SEARCHES AND VISIBILITY The first item on the agenda was for the helicopter to search for us and, having found us, to execute runs at various altitudes to work out the best height at which to search. In the debrief after the exercise, the helicopter crew emphasised just how difficult it was to see the skis on the water, especially the allwhite skis, which blend in with the breaking waves. We could see the helicopter long before the crew onboard spotted us.
WATER BABIES WHILE ALL EYES WERE ON SA SWIMMING’S GOLDEN BOYS, A RELATIVELY UNKNOWN 18-YEAR-OLD DURBAN SCHOOLBOY MADE WAVES AT THE BEIJING OLYMPICS WHEN HE FINISHED SEVENTH IN THE 10KM OPEN-WATER EVENT, ONLY 21.5 SECONDS BEHIND WINNER MAARTEN VAN DER WEIJDEN. CHRISTINE CURTIS CHATTED TO CHAD HO WHEN HE CAME UP FOR AIR… Congratulations on an impressive performance in Beijing! It must have been an overwhelming experience. I haven’t had much time to linger on the Olympics because I had to go straight into writing my matric trial exams. It was unbelievable, though. I remember getting goosebumps at the opening ceremony and I’m extremely honoured to have represented my country.
What was the biggest lesson you learnt in Beijing? I would say, to stay focused and eat healthily. Because my race was towards the end of the Olympics, I had to still train while the other swimmers took it easy once they’d finished competing – and free McDonalds was very temping!
Why do you focus on open-water swimming specifically? What challenges did you have to overcome in the run-up to the event? It’s been quite a hard year for me. I changed coaches after 11 years and I had to learn to trust his technique and advice. I also had to keep up with my schoolwork. It was at the SA Championships in February 2008 that I realised that I could actually qualify for the Olympics. From there, I just put everything into my training to prepare for the trials in Spain in May. Unfortunately, in Spain, I was kicked in the eye and this tore my cornea, but I was given another opportunity to compete in June in Beijing, where I had to finish in the top 10 to qualify – I came fourth. Once I qualified, it was all about preparing for the Olympics.
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I’ve always loved the open water: I swam the Midmar Mile for the first time when I was seven, and then every year thereafter. I love being in the open – and the family comes along; we have a picnic and just enjoy the day out. I love pool swimming as well, but it had to take a back seat this year.
What are your favourite distances? I prefer the longer distances: in the pool, I enjoy swimming the 400m, 800m and 1 500m freestyle, 200m butterfly and 400m individual medley; in the open water, the 5km and 10km events. I can’t really single out a favourite distance, because I get the same satisfaction every time I swim.
With his compatriots (from left): Jean Basson, Darian Townsend and Roland Schoeman; the start of the 10km Open Water race at the Olympics
How you manage to balance your schoolwork with a strenuous training schedule and lots of travelling? I’m at Westville Boys High – luckily all the teachers are very supportive and help me to keep abreast of my schoolwork, but I have to make sure I catch up any work that I miss when I’m away. I get to school late and leave early due to my training, so my mates collect notes for me.
What sort of career would you like to follow, or do you see swimming as your future? My favorite subject is technical drawing but I have to confess I would rather be swimming than writing an exam. I’m looking to study to be a draughtsman or something sports-related, but I might take a gap year before I decide. Swimming won’t last forever, unfortunately.
How does it feel to be the youngest competitor in most of your professional races? I get frustrated because I wish I had the same strength and experience as the older competitors. But each time I swim against them, I learn more from them and the gap is closing, which is exciting.
share a room with Roland Schoeman. His advice, and motivation will stay with me forever. I’ve made some great friends over the years from my travelling.
Besides swimming training, do you follow a specific exercise and eating plan? I do light gym work three times a week – apparently it’s important to allow my body to develop before I start weight training. My mom oversees my eating plan, though I don’t really do anything special – I just try to eat three good meals a day; the normal protein, carbs and veg.
RESULTS COME WITH HARD WORK AND 100% DEDICATION. I WANT TO BE STANDING ON THE PODIUM TO RECEIVE A MEDAL AND HEAR OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM BEING PLAYED
What is your relationship with your coach like?
What about free time?
I’ve only been with Alistair Hatfield for seven months, but he made a great contribution towards my success in Beijing. We discuss my training together and he takes the time to listen to what I have to say.
I’m often tired by the weekend so I like to chill out. I enjoy my Play Station, corresponding with mates on Facebook and maybe going out for supper and movies with friends or having them over for a braai.
What role does your family play in your swimming career?
How do prepare yourself mentally for big races?
They’ve been my best support system. Without their help and sacrifices I would never have succeeded. My dad, Steven, is in sales, my mom, Hillary, runs the Kloof Senior Primary School canteen. I have two older sisters: Tracey, a schoolteacher, and Andrea, who has just left to work in Dubai for two years.
Talking to people helps me relax and takes my mind off things, otherwise you start thinking things like, ‘what if…?’ I also listen to my iPod, mainly hip-hop or rap. Only when I’m about to start my race do I think of what I discussed with my coach and get excited to swim.
So what’s next? Who are your heroes? My greatest sport hero has to be Lance Armstrong. What he has achieved is unbelievable – if I could have a percentage of his determination then I know I can make it, too. I also think Natalie du Toit is remarkable. To have the mental strength to make that kind of comeback after her accident is amazing. I enjoy swimming and travelling with her because she’s always so positive. In Beijing I was lucky enough to
The next four years are going to be quite exciting. My main goal is London 2012. I’m gearing up to get back into pool swimming and hope to qualify for the World Championships in Rome next year. My next big swim will hopefully be the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Watching the swimming in Beijing made me realise that getting the results you want only comes with hard work and 100% dedication. I want to be standing on the podium to receive a medal and hear our national anthem being played.
SEA RESCUE > SUMMER 2008
PHOTOGRAPH: DOUG FREEMAN
Kevin Warren is lowered to investigate during the aerial search
FOREIGNERS ‘MISSING, PRESUMED DROWNED’ On Sunday 13 July, Station 7 (East London) was activated to assist the police and police diving units in the search for a missing person near the Jacaranda wreck off Mazeppa Bay on the Transkei coast. Two NSRI rescue swimmers onboard the Aviate helicopter joined a police helicopter to search the area from the air, while police and police divers searched the shoreline and surf around the rocky area and the wreck. After a thorough and extensive search, the search team was stood down due to fading light. A young American tourist had apparently entered the surf near the rocky area close to the wreck and had disappeared beneath the waves. The tour group was being assisted by police trauma counsellors. In another incident later that month, Station 19 (Richards Bay) received reports of a 24-year-old male from Manchester, UK, missing in the surf at the main beach at St Lucia, approximately 40nm north of Richard’s Bay. An NSRI volunteer happened to be on the beach when the incident occurred and sounded the alarm. An extensive air, sea and shore search revealed no sign of him. The missing man, Sean Michael Foxcroft, was part of a group of four expedition leaders and 15 youngsters taking part in a World Challenge Expedition that saw them covering terrain in the North Eastern part of South Africa.
Sean went missing in the surf while assisting a fellow expedition leader to rescue a group of their learners who were in difficulty in the shallow surf. The other expedition leader and the youngsters all made it safely out of the surf. On Monday, 1 September, just after midday, Station 14 (Plettenberg Bay), Station 12 (Knysna), the SA Police Services and Metro Ambulance and Rescue Services responded to Harkerville, between Plettenberg Bay and Knysna. Terrance Davis, a 21-year-old American exchange student studying at UCT, was reported missing after being swept off rocks by a set of waves. He was one of a group of five students on a mid-semester break. A member of the public had to run quite a distance in order to get cellphone reception to activate the emergency services. Kobus Crause happened to be in the area flying in his private Robertson 44 helicopter and volunteered to assist in the search. He managed to cover an extensive search area prior to the NSRI’s arrival. An SA Air Force 15 Squadron Charlie Flight BK-117 helicopter with Station 6 (Port Elizabeth) rescue swimmer Kevin Warren onboard joined the air search. Sea conditions were too rough to launch rescue boats. Recent storms which caused 1m deep sea surface foam further hampered search efforts.
SEA RESCUE > SUMMER 2008
WEDNESDAY 6 AUGUST – A BUSY DAY 9h04: Station 9 (Gordon’s Bay) was activated by the National Ports Authority to assist a crayfish chucky boat Marlena with four crew onboard experiencing engine difficulties at Rocky Banks near the northern mouth of False Bay. NSRI Gordon’s Bay launched Sanlam Rescuer, a towline was rigged and the casualty craft was towed to Gordon’s Bay harbour.
10h05: Station 18 (Melkbos) was activated by the National Ports Authority following eyewitness reports of a dog suspected of being washed out to sea in front of Doodles Restaurant in Table View. On arrival on scene, a jet-ski was observed near the dog behind the breaker line. It appeared the jet-skier was coaxing the dog to turn around and swim to shore, which it eventually did. The dog then reunited with its owners. The NSRI volunteer questioned the owners who confirmed that this was a regular swimming activity of their short-haired German pointer. Rescue resources were stood down.
14h52: Station 8 (Hout Bay), Station 26 (Kommetjie), the Metro Red Cross AMS helicopter and the Metro were activated by the National Ports Authority following a mayday distress call from the 12m fishing trawler Tamara with five crew onboard off Scarborough. She reported a collision with a Southern Right Whale resulting in a 1m hole to the vessel’s bow. She was taking on water fast. Two fishing trawlers from the same fleet, Penjamin and Hiram had gone to her assistance. Penjamin reported to have the casualty craft under tow, while Hiram was standing by to assist the crew off the casualty boat if an evacuation became necessary. They requested a water extraction pump to be delivered to them
LATE-NIGHT SWIMMER On Saturday 2 August at 21h44, Station 5 (Durban) was called following reports of a man who had jumped off the pier at Bay of Plenty, south of North Beach, Durban. A 37-year-old man had jumped off the pier and appeared to be swimming out to sea. He was found about 300m out, just inside of the shark nets. He was recovered onboard rescue craft Megan II. When he was located, he was floating on his back. He claimed he was just going for a swim and said he couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. He was taken to shore and handed over to police for questioning. The man was not injured.
ANGLER FALLS THROUGH BROKEN PIER On 28 July at 19h00, eyewitnesses reported that a local angler had fallen through a hole in the Brighton Beach Pier into the sea below while fishing. Station 6 (Port Elizabeth) launched Eikos Rescuer III and Boardwalk Rescuer. The 54-year-old man was found floating face down in the
urgently as the casualty boat was rapidly filling with water. While the rescue craft were launched, the Metro Red Cross AMS helicopter responded to Station 8 (Hout Bay) rescue base to fetch the pump and an NSRI crewman to be taken out to the casualty craft. MTU Nadine Gordimer took over the towline from Penjamin, and assisted by Spirit of Winelands, the casualty craft was safely moored in Hout Bay harbour. Kommetjie base’s second rescue boat, Wavescapes, was dispatched to investigate the condition of the whale, which was found to be swimming without difficulty or obvious injury.
15h48: Station 6 (Port Elizabeth) was activated by the National Ports Authority following eyewitness reports of a man on a sea kayak about 500m off Sea View waving his paddle towards the shore in an apparent plea for help. Boardwalk Rescuer was launched at Maitland Beach, and an SA Air Force 15 Squadron Charlie Flight BK-117 helicopter with NSRI rescue swimmers Kevin Warren and John Fletcher onboard also responded. The helicopter arrived on scene first and Kevin was lowered into the surf, where he secured the casualty, a man from Gauteng in his mid-30s. Kevin and the casualty were then hoisted into the helicopter. John Fletcher was lowered into the surf, where he remained with the kayak while the helicopter took the casulaty to shore. He was treated for mild hypothermia and then released on scene requiring no further medical assistance. Boardwalk Rescuer picked up John and the sea-kayak was towed safely to shore.
water about 50m from where he had fallen in. His body was recovered by Eikos Rescuer III, brought to the rescue base and handed to members of the SA Police Services.
MEDIVAC FROM MAERSK DELLYS On Sunday 6 July at 18h35, the NSRI was asked by the National Ports Authority to assist with the casualty evacuation of a seaman from the container ship Maersk Dellys sailing from Durban to Port Louis, Mauritius. He was suffering from an abdominal complaint. A Metro duty doctor evaluated the patient’s condition via marine radio telephone and deemed it necessary for the patient to be evacuated to hospital as soon as possible. Spirit of Vodacom with two Metro paramedics onboard rendezvoused with Maersk Dellys about 2nm outside the port of Table Bay in 1.5m swells. The 43-year-old Romanian sailor was transferred to the rescue craft and brought to the NSRI base at the V&A Waterfront where he was met by a Metro ambulance, which transported him to a local hospital in a stable condition.
SEA RESCUE > SUMMER 2008
ILLUSTRATION: DARRYL EDWARDES
ONE FOR THE ROAD
On Saturday 23 August at 05h30, Station 23 (Wilderness) volunteers were driving along the Old Knysna road to assist as medical standby at the Saasveld Marathon, when they came across a man in his mid-30s lying on the side of the road. They stopped to investigate and found him to be semi-conscious and suffering from hypothermia. He was treated on the scene, loaded into our NSRI rescue vehicle and transported to a local hospital where he received further treatment for hypothermia, after which he was released in a satisfactory condition. It appears that the man had fallen asleep on the side of the road while walking home following a night of revelry at a local tavern. He had succumbed to hypothermia during the early morning.
On Friday 22 August at 05h45, John Fish Agencies, the local shipping agent for the 270m LPG Gas ship, Gallina, asked Station 7 (East London) to assist a young woman from Manchester in the UK, who was suffering from dehydration caused by seasickness. The ship’s last port of call was Cape Town and next port of call the UAE. At the time, Gallina was 175nm offshore of East London and heading towards East London’s Port. The rescue craft ACSA Rescuer I was launched with a Metro Rescue paramedic and a Netcare911 paramedic onboard, and rendezvoused with the ship 10nm off-shore. She was transferred to the rescue craft, accompanied by her boyfriend, an officer onboard the ship.
TRAGEDY DURING SCHOOL OUTING Station 15 (Mossel Bay) was activated at 14h07 following reports of a mass drowning at Great Brak River, Suider Kruis, near Mossel Bay. Two rescue craft were launched. The base’s volunteer rescue swimmers, as well as a Station 23 (Wilderness) rescue swimmer, the ER24 ambulance service, Metro Ambulance and Rescue Services, SA Police Services and the Metro Red Cross AMS helicopter all responded to the scene. On arrival, it was determined that nine teenagers, who were part of a school touring group, had got into difficulty in the surf when the small inflatables they were on capsized. An adult male, believed to be the owner of the inflatables and their tour guide, had entered the surf in an attempt to help them. He was later assisted out of the surf by bystanders. The teenagers, who were accompanied by teachers, were from a high school in Brakpan and on a school excursion. They had travelled on the Outeniqua train earlier in the day before being bussed to Groot Brak to continue with team-building exercises on the inflatables, which are used for wave rafting. There were four inflatables, each carrying three teenagers, all of whom were wearing life jackets. Three of the inflatables capsized in the choppy, rough sea swells, but the fourth made it out of the surf and the teenagers onboard that one were unharmed. After hearing that there were multiple casualties in the surf,
40 SEA RESCUE > SUMMER 2008
Station 23 (Wilderness) NSRI rescue swimmer Donald Olivier flagged down a passing vehicle occupied by two surfers who had their surfboards strapped to the roof of their vehicle. Donald asked them to paddle out to sea on their surfboards to assist in the rescue. Donald himself rescued two teenagers from the surf while the surfers stayed with a number of the casualties who were holding onto their surfboards. Station 15 (Mossel Bay) rescue swimmer Alta Haschick arrived on scene next, and swam out to assist the two surfers in their efforts to hold onto two of the casualties. One teenager, a 16-year-old male, was reportedly washed out of his life jacket by the waves. Crew from the rescue boats, which arrived on scene, rescued a further number of casualties. Paramedics conducted cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on two of the teenagers, both 17-year-old males, but after all efforts to resuscitate them were exhausted, they were both declared dead on the scene. Four of the rescued teenagers, three 16-year-old females and a 17-year-old male were taken to hospital by ambulance, all in a serious condition. The remaining learners in the group and the teachers who accompanied them received trauma counselling. Read the moving personal accounts of this rescue on pages 22-24.
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