Ricochet News

Man and his girlfriend rescued after being swept out to sea by rip currents in George

Jan 24, 2018
Man and his girlfriend rescued after being swept out to sea by rip currents in George

A man and his girlfriend escaped with their lives following a dramatic rescue after they were caught in rip currents while visiting a beach just outside George.

According to Robert van Helsdingen, National Sea Rescue (NSRI) Wilderness station commander, at 15h41, on Tuesday, the NSRI Wilderness duty crew were activated following reports of two people, a male and a female, caught in rip currents at the Gwaing River Mouth, near to George, and being swept out to sea.

"We dispatched a sea rescue vehicle towing our sea rescue craft Clemen Gold Rescuer and the SA Police Services and WC Government Health EMS responded," said van Helsdingen.

"A local 30-year-old man and his girlfriend, 27, were being swept out towards the river mouth while swimming in the river, they are believed to originally be from Gauteng."

He said that on arrival on the scene, the NSRI crew were above the cliff and looking down onto the water and found a local man, Colm Macguire, believed to be aged in his late 30’s or early 40’s, on a paddle-ski that he had launched and he had reached the man outside the river mouth behind the breakers and he was bringing that man towards the shore with the man holding onto the paddle-ski with the assistance of Macguire.

"It was later confirmed that the casualty was exhausted at the time Macguire reached behind the breakers.

"The female was caught in an Eddy and swirling around in currents in the river mouth but managing to stay afloat," van Helsdingen said.

"While bringing the man towards the shore, in the breakers, the paddle-ski capsized and the casualty was able to swim towards rocks nearby and he clambered onto the rocks and he was safe ashore but he appeared to be in a serious condition."

He added that Macguire swam to recover his paddle-ski and he reached his paddle-ski in the surfline and he then paddled to the female and reaching her he was able to paddle out of the swirling Eddy with the female being assisted by him and they reached closer to shallow water where by that stage the NSRI rescue swimmers had reached them and waded them out of the water to safety and she was placed on oxygen as a precaution and was otherwise not injured and she was released requiring no further assistance.

"Paramedics reached the man, who was on the rocks and treated him for non-fatal drowning symptoms."

WC Government Health EMS had activated the EMS/AMS Skymed rescue helicopter and on their arrival on the scene they hoisted the injured man off the rocks and airlifted him to an area where the EMS ambulance was parked.

"EMS paramedics treated the man for non-fatal drowning symptoms and he has been transported to hospital by EMS ambulance in a serious but stable condition for further treatment and he is expected to fully recover," described Vvan Helsdingen.

"NSRI commend Macguire for saving the two peoples lives."