Ricochet News

Man still missing after group caught in rip currents at St Francis Bay beach

Jan 5, 2018
Man still missing after group caught in rip currents at St Francis Bay beach

A 28-year-old man is still missing in St Francis Bay and police have opened an investigation after ten people were caught in the surf and swept out to sea at a local beach on Thursday afternoon.

According to Sarah Smith, the National Sea Rescue Institute's (NSRI) St Francis Bay station commander, at 12h38 on Thursday, the NSRI St Francis Bay duty crew were activated following reports of multiple people in difficulty in the surf at Anne Avenue Beach.

"The sea rescue craft Spirit of St Francis II was launched and NSRI rescue swimmers raced to the beach to join four Kouga Municipal lifeguards, three Volunteer lifeguards and two local surfers, who were in the surf attempting to rescue nine persons from the water at Anne Avenue Beach (an unprotected beach not patrolled by lifeguards), who had been swept out to sea by rip currents," Smith described.

"NSRI rescue swimmers swam out to the lifeguards who confirmed that they had eight casualties in a group with seven lifeguards and a surfer assisting and they continued towards the beach.

"The NSRI rescue swimmers then swam to a surfer who was helping one casualty and the surfer was able to get that casualty to the shore."

She said that once all nine casualties were out of the surf they were all medically checked by paramedics from Private Care ambulance services and required no further medical care.

"It was then confirmed that one person remained unaccounted for, a local 28-year-old man, and the NSRI sea rescue craft, a Private fixed wing aircraft, a Police helicopter and a K-9 Search and Rescue team and a Police Dive Unit joined in the ongoing search operation but despite an extensive search no sign of the missing man has been found," Smith added.

"Police will continue an ongoing search and recovery operation and Police have opened an investigation."

The NSRI commended the lifeguards and the two surfers, who rescued the nine persons from the water and NSRI thanked the private plane that assisted in the ongoing search for one man, who sadly remains missing.