Members of the NSRI were praised after they rescued a man who got into trouble while paddling off Three Anchor Bay last weekend.
Quentin Botha, NSRI Table Bay station commander, said on Sunday April 30, NSRI Table Bay and NSRI Bakoven duty crews were activated following a distress call from a paddler reporting to be about 600 meters off-shore of Three Anchor Bay and in difficulty in strong winds.
“After new information indicated that the paddler may now be further South West off-shore of Bantry Bay an extended search continued to find no sign of the paddler despite the search area extending between Three Anchor Bay and Camps Bay and further out to sea.
“The missing paddler’s cellphone details indicated an address in Athlone and police dispatched to the address to investigate, confirmed from the man’s mother that he had gone paddling from Three Anchor Bay.
“Then the private rubber-duck Stella Maris, at sea at the time, reported to NSRI Melkbosstrand that they had come across a paddler, half way between Robben Island and Oudekraal, and they had taken the paddler on-board, reporting that he was hypothermic, exhausted and in shock. With the information provided fitting the description of the missing paddler, NSRI Table Bay’s sea rescue craft Spirit of Vodacom rendezvoused with Stella Maris and took the 47-year-old patient on-board the sea rescue craft where treatment for exhaustion and severe hypothermia commenced while they brought him to the NSRI Table Bay rescue base.”
He added that ER24 ambulance services were called to the NSRI Table Bay sea rescue station where they continued medical treatment and transported the man to hospital in a stable condition.
“The patient, who was wearing a life-jacket, reported losing sight of his friends when he was knocked off his paddle board and although managing to get back on, waves were swamping the paddle board. After raising the alarm by cellphone, he put his cellphone into his wet suit and we believe that he did not know that it had switched off.
“He drifted for over two hours, with no flares or any other safety devices on-board, before being found by the crew of Stella Maris.
“Stella Maris, unaware that a search and rescue operation was under way for a paddler, were heading towards Oudekraal at the time when they saw an object floating in the water. They (found) the paddler who was half in the water and half out the water, with the life-jacket keeping him afloat. (He was) barely able to hold onto his paddle board, appearing to be in a bad way and saying please help me.
“Once safely at the sea rescue base and in the care of paramedics, it was then reported that he had been paddling with friends who were still unaccounted for.
“A new search was launched and three of his friends were found safe at Three Anchor Bay and one paddler was found by NSRI Bakoven off-shore of Bakoven and NSRI Table Bay took him to the Three Anchor Bay slipway.”
NSRI are urging boaters and paddlers to download the free NSRI SafetTrx phone application – found on the NSRI web page www.nsri.org.za – onto their phones.
In an emergency, it gives the NSRI and rescuers an exact position of the person in distress. “We also urge paddlers to carry safety equipment, paddle in groups of at least three persons and stay together.”
The skipper of Stella Maris, James Gildenhuys and his crew Johannes du Toit and Jayden Rodrigues, were commended for the role they played in saving the man’s life .