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Season has its share of drownings

Three people died in drowning incidents at Overstrand beaches over the festive season.

A 27-year-old man from Eerste River drowned off the coast of Kleinmond, while trying to rescue a woman who had been caught in rip currents, but once in the surf he got into difficulties himself.

Schalk Boonzaaier, NSRI Kleinmond station commander, said the crew was called out at about 16:00 on Saturday 4 January, following eyewitness reports of lifeguards in the surfline rescuing a man from the water.

“On arriving on the scene we found that lifeguards had initiated CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) on the man,” he said.

Boonzaaier said the lifeguards had been summoned from an adjacent beach and entered the water and reached the man at the backline, and he was reportedly lifeless in the water. They initiated CPR after getting him back on the beach.

Boonzaaier said the woman reportedly reached the beach and was not injured.

“NSRI medics and CMC paramedics assisted lifeguards in extensive CPR efforts, but sadly, after efforts to resuscitate the man were exhausted and he has been declared deceased.”

Police have opened an inquest docket.

On New Year’s Day, the NSRI Kleinmond responded to a police request for assistance at Betty’s Bay Main Beach.

Boonzaaier said on arrival at the scene, the crew found three private doctors, separately on holiday in the area, performing CPR on a man, aged 20, from Strand who had been rescued from the water by a good Samaritan after reportedly being swept out to sea by rip currents while swimming.

“NSRI and paramedics joined the doctors’ efforts, but sadly despite extensive and exhaustive CPR efforts, he was declared deceased.”

Also on New Year’s Day, NSRI Hermanus was alerted to reports of a drowning incident near Gansbaai. Before arriving on the scene WC Government Health EMS paramedics confirmed a 10-year-old boy had drowned. The SA Police Services and Government Health Forensic Pathology Services attended the scene.

Non-fatal drownings and incidents:

  • A 28 year old man from Morocco was treated for non-fatal drowning symptoms at Betty’s Bay Main Beach on New Year’s day.
  • At 17:13 on New Year’s Day, NSRI Kleinmond duty crew, WC Government Health EMS and CMC ambulance services responded to Kleinmond Lagoon following a request for assistance from Police reporting an incident where lifeguards had rescued a 6-year-old boy reportedly from under the water and urgent medical attention was required.

NSRI and paramedics joined lifeguards treating the child for non-fatal drowning symptoms and the child, from Crossroads, in Cape Town, has been transported to hospital by ambulance in a serious but stable condition.

  • Earlier on New Year’s Day at 12:46, the NSRI Kleinmond duty crew rescued a seal pup that was found by members of the public trapped in among rocks near to Kleinmond harbour.

Using blankets NSRI crew were able to free the seal and the seal pup was released back to the sea and swam away confidently.

  • At 15:10, Sunday 5 January, the NSRI Hermanus duty crew responded to Hermanus Lagoon following eye-witness reports of a windsurfer in difficulty on the lagoon.

Deon Langenhoven, NSRI Hermanus station commander, says an NSRI trainee crewman was keeping a vigil on a windsurfer in difficulty on the lagoon and NSRI Hermanus duty crew towed the sea rescue craft Maritimus to be launched at the lagoon and WC Government Health EMS responded.

While responding to the scene a private boat intervened and rescued the 56-year-old local man and recovered his windsurfer, and brought him to Grotto Beach, where NSRI and EMS paramedics checked the man medically but he required no further assistance.

NSRI commended the private boat crew which assisted.

  • At 11:36, Saturday 4 January, NSRI Kleinmond duty crew were activated to assist a Rigid Inflatable Boat with a family of five on board, off-shore at Kleinmond Harbour.

“Our sea rescue craft Jaytee 3 was launched and reached them off-shore and the mom and their three children were taken on board our sea rescue craft, NSRI crew were transferred onto the casualty craft, the dad also remained on board, and we brought the mom and three children to shore,” says Boonzaaier.

“We towed the craft into Kleinmond Harbour.”

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