NSRI Table Bay, NSRI Bakoven, the Metro Ambulance and Rescue Services and the Metro Red Cross AMS helicopter were activated on Wednesday, 26 May, 2010 at 17h45 following an eye-witness report of a paddler in difficulty off-shore of the Mouille Point Lighthouse.
A Johannesburg man’s surf-ski had broken in half after being hit by a wave about 500 metres off-shore and three fellow paddlers were assisting him to get ashore by paddling for the shoreline with the casualty hanging onto the back of one of the surf-ski’s.
The casualty is Derek Hompes, he was paddling with his friend from Cape Town, Fred Creswell and two fellow paddlers, who were paddling nearby to the incident at the time, a man known only as Peter and a Barry Meiring, who also assisted in the rescue after they noticed the casualty in distress.
When the NSRI arrived on-scene they were all already safely out of the water and despite a very mild case of hypothermia the casualty required no medical assistance. They were all wearing life-jackets, thermal clothing suited to the conditions and they had safety equipment.
The surf-ski remained at sea, in half, and wash up along the shoreline at Mouille Point this morning and was recovered by the paddlers who had gone to look for it this morning.
The NSRI commend the eye-witness, Vicky Malliaris, for keeping the responding NSRI rescuers updated on the casualties progress and of the situation as it unfolded and our thanks are also extended to her friend Jules who then assisted (drove) the casualty to get back to his vehicle at the Oceana Power Boat Club and who then returned to the scene to direct the NSRI to the casualties whereabouts.
NSRI SAFETY TIPS:
The NSRI are urging people living along the coastline or visiting the coast to know their nearest Sea Rescue Emergency Number.
The NSRI are urging paddlers to always paddle in groups of (minimum) three paddlers.
Anyone launching any kind of craft to go to sea (or on inland waters) should wear the correct brightly coloured thermal gear, suited to the conditions expected. Make sure your craft has bright reflective stickers pasted on. Make sure your craft has your name and two alternative contactable phone numbers (one number for a responsible friend or family member) stencilled on your craft.
Always carry safety equipment: Life-jacket worn at all times on water; a referees whistle; red distress flares; a signalling mirror or CD disc; communications – a vhf radio or cellphone, batteries fully charged, kept in water tight plastic sleeves; a water proof torch.
Always let a responsible person know your time of departure, your exact route, your time of return. Stick to your route and let the responsible person know of your safe return.
Make sure you have your nearest Sea Rescue Emergency number programmed in your phone and make certain that the “responsible person” has the Sea Rescue Emergency number programmed in their phone.
If you expect to be away for an extended period then you should “check-in” with the responsible person in pre-designated regular timings.
If you are overdue then the responsible person should be encouraged to not hesitate to contact the NSRI with the concern and rather allow us the opportunity to investigate the report thoroughly to ensure your safety. No one will be disappointed if you are found to still be safe!
We are experiencing Spring Tide for the next few days bringing higher than normal high tide and lower than normal low tide and stronger than normal rip-currents.
It is important that anyone going to sea (or on inland waters) on any craft to ensure these vital safety precautions but also know the expected weather, tides and conditions that may be expected.
Always be prepared for the worst before setting out.
Anyone reporting a sea rescue emergency should give their name and a contactable phone number and be prepared to be called by a host of responding rescue authorities immediately (i.e. stay in contactable range so that responding rescuers can obtain further information and more detailed information as the search and rescue operation unfolds). As the situation changes it is extremely helpful for the responding rescuers to be kept abreast of the situation.
Give the exact nature and the exact “address” of the emergency, take note of landmarks and observe as much detail as possible – everything will be of great help to the rescuers if a full-scale search extends into the dark hours.
Casualties in difficulty at sea should stay with their floating craft at all costs but also be prepared to use your emergency equipment. The NSRI advise people going to sea to practice for an emergency in a swimming pool (in a safe environment) before launching. You don’t want to have to read the instructions for your safety equipment for the first time in a real emergency. You don’t want to try to use your safety equipment for the first time in a real emergency.
In choppy and rough seas, half submerged in sea water, with your adrenalin pumping – using your emergency equipment should be well rehearsed and second nature!
Red distress flares should be used in the following sequence: Fire off one red distress flare and five minutes later a second red distress flare. Then fire off a red distress flare 30 minutes later and then hourly. It is best to save two red distress flares until you see another craft nearby and to use them only then.
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