Mystery man rescued at sea paddling on swimming pool dingy with garden rake

MARCH 4, 2015

A ‘mystery’ man was rescued on Tuesday evening while  paddling on a tiny swimming pool inflatable dinghy using a garden rake as an oar, 1 nautical mile off-shore of the Mouille Point Lighthouse in the Western Cape.

According to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Bakoven, a duty crew was alerted by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) that they investigate reports of a lone paddler on a dingy marked Explorer 200, off shore of Green Point, who according to eye-witnesses appeared to be ‘acting suspiciously’ and may be in difficulty.

A few boats had come across the man who ignored offers of assistance although he appeared unfit or ill-equipped to be at sea.

The man was later towed to shore by a boating club member where he was met by the police and the NSRI Bakoven crew.

“Police questioned the man but he appeared to be unable to answer questions and, for his own safety, police have taken him away for questioning and safe keeping (although not injured, there were fears that he may decide to go back to sea),” said Johnny Albert, NSRI Bakoven deputy station commander.

“It is unknown where the man is from although in the few words he spoke to Police he mentioned Simons Town.  He appeared to be unable to answer where he had come from or where he was going and it remains a mystery.

“It has been suggested that he may have been a stow-away who may have jumped ship in Table Bay or perhaps he’s a gardener out for an evening paddle. NSRI have not been notified by police if they have managed to get to the bottom of the mystery.” 

Photo caption: NSRI’s Alex Albert with the garden rake and the small swimming pool dingy used by the man behind him. Picture NSRI