Diver NSRI - 2 Good Samaritans Rescue 4 Locals in Distress | Rescued
Photo Credit: NSRI

A diver faced a harrowing 2 hours after coming up to his boat, getting separated from his friends and staying afloat in the ocean, while teams searched for him.

 

St Francis Bay, South Africa (06 March 2023) – A diver was recently rescued by a joint rescue operation which saw several rescuers come together to help rescue the missing man. Sara Smith, NSRI St Francis Bay station commander, shared how the teams worked to search the ocean to find the diver.

With so many teams at play, volunteers and official search and rescues, it was great to see them coordinate such an efficient search of the area and to successfully find the diver, mostly unharmed.

“At 13h23, Thursday, 2 March, NSRI St Francis Bay duty crew were activated following reports of a diver missing off-shore of Seal Point Lighthouse, Cape St Francis.

Two local men, recreational divers from a local dive club, while diving at a depth of 35 to 40 meters, were on an ascent from their dive when their anchor line reportedly came loose from their boat forcing them to speed up their ascent.

On surfacing one diver was able to reach their RHIB (rigid hull inflatable boat) while one diver, after managing to get his dive fins onboard their boat, he became separated from the boat and his dive partner lost sight of him.

The alarm was raised while the dive partner initiated a search.

The missing man was reported to be adrift at sea with no aids – life-jacket, flippers, safety gear, other than he was in his wet-suit with his dive tank and BC.

NSRI St Francis Bay launched the sea rescue craft Spirit of St Francis II while shore crew were dispatched to initiate a shoreline search.

NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) alerted the Transnet National Ports Authority and MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre). Telkom Maritime Radio Services broadcast an all ships alert for the area requesting vessels in the area to keep a sharp lookout.

NSRI Jeffreys Bay were activated and the NSRI rescue craft Rescue 37 was launched. NSRI Oyster Bay duty crew were activated and they prepared to launch the NSRI rescue craft Oyster Bay 1.

The Transnet National Ports Authority, NSEI EOC, NSRI duty controllers from St Francis Bay, Jeffreys Bay and from Gqeberha assisted MRCC to plot a search grid.

NSRI Kommetjie (Cape Town) assisted with the Search Well system to assist in the drift direction and speed of drift.

Sea conditions were 2 to 3-meter Westerly swells with South Easterly 10 to 20 knots winds.

Gqeberha Air Traffic Control (ATC), local flight schools and airfields were alerted.

2 fixed-wing aircraft joined in the search, one crewed by NSRI Gqeberha volunteer father and son crew, Ross and Rob Pyle, on aircraft belonging to Madiba Bay School of Flight who volunteered their aircraft and they joined the search from Gqeberha, and one aircraft crewed by local Chris Sparg, that joined the search from the St Francis Airfield, on his private aircraft that he volunteered.

The 2 aircraft were directed to search areas.

Port St Francis Ski-boat and Yacht Club assisted by dispatching private craft to join in the search.

Balobi Chokka Fishing Company dispatched a vessel to assist in the search.

Private Care ambulance services and the Police Dive Unit were placed on alert.

At 15h12, during an extensive air, sea and shoreline search, the missing diver was located 1 nautical miles off-shore West of Seal Point Lighthouse by the NSRI Jeffreys Bay rescue craft Rescue 37.

He was found to be in good spirits despite being in the water for almost 2 hours. He had suffered multiple blue blotte stings to his hands but he was otherwise not injured and he required no medical attention.

He was brought to shore aboard the NSRI rescue craft safely and he was reunited with his dive buddy.

The swift response by all involved is commended. The dive partner is commended for raising the alarm early. The massive local response by private aircraft, private boats, local clubs and the fishing industry and the immense swift response by NSRI St Francis Bay, their flanking stations NSRI Jeffreys Bay and NSRI Oyster Bay and the support from NSRI Gqeberha, TNPA, NSRI EOC, MRCC is commended.”

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) is a charity organisation that saves lives on South African waters – both coastal and inland. Its goal is to prevent drowning through rescue operations, education and prevention initiatives.

Operating from base stations along the SA coastline, and on inland dams, the rescue volunteers are on call, at all hours, every day of the year. The rescue crew receives no payment, nor do they charge the people they rescue.

You can support the organisation via its website here.


Sources: NSRI – Supplied
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Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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