Photo by Harry Moore via Pexels

Local fisherman, Buchanan Breytenbach, jumped overboard to save a man who had been washed off the nearby harbour wall when a big wave hit.


St Francis, South Africa (04 June 2024) — A local fisherman has been hailed a hero after he witnessed a man being swept off the St Francis harbour wall and into the port by a massive wave. Without hesitation, Buchanan Breytenbach lept overboard to get to the man as soon as possible! The NSRI has commended the hero for his efforts in saving a life.

The incident took place at 13h28 on Monday, June 3rd. The NSRI Francis Bay duty crew was activated following reports of a man washed off the harbour wall by waves at the Port of St Francis at the peak of high tide. The waves were more aggressive than usual due to escalating weather and the New Moon Spring Tide.

The NSRI Francis Bay crew shared that the local man, aged in his 40’s, had been swept off the harbour wall into the harbour when local fishermen, preparing their Chokka fishing boat for the Chokka season, saw the man’s peril and they leapt into action.

Buchanan Breytenbach had initially gone to get a nearby life ring but he noticed that the man was slipping under water. Time was of the essence! He shouted to his shore skipper, Shorts Richardson, to grab the life ring while Buchanan abandoned his jersey and gum boots and leapt into the water. He swam towards the man and pulled him up from underwater and then managed to prevent him from going underwater again.

Buchanan had told the NSRI that he was able to get his arm under the man’s shoulder, preventing him from going underwater and then Shorts threw a rope towards them.

“All the time Shorts was shouting instructions to aid me in the rescue which helped” said Buchanan.

Buchanan grabbed the rope and instructed the man to hang on. Skipper Shorts pulled them towards their Chokka Boat which had taken on some damage from the heavy seas and storms. There, at the side of the boat, Shorts helped them onto the boat to safety.

“I work upstairs at the Port of St Francis, so I was first on-scene, where I found that they had safely got the man out of the water.” – Sara Smith, NSRI St Francis Bay station commander

The man was treated for non-fatal drowning symptoms and hypothermia, and after being further checked by paramedics, he declined to be transported to the hospital.

“NSRI commend Good Samaritan Buchanan Breytenbach for his actions that saved the man’s life.

We also commend Good Samaritan Shorts Richardson for his assistance that contributed to the man’s life being saved.

The swift response of NSRI and Relay ambulance services is commended.”


The new moon’s Spring Tide phase is upon us. Spring tide brings a higher-than-normal high tide and a lower-than-normal low tide.

Sea conditions around the coast are rough from the cold fronts and storms that have battered parts of the coastline.

The new moon Spring tide peaks on Thursday, 6th June, and the Spring tide – higher than normal high tide and lower than normal low tide – in these rough storm seas will cause this new moon Spring tide to contribute to potentially perilous sea conditions lasting from now until after the coming weekend.

Always keep safety in mind, and be aware of the new moon’s Spring tide phase, which can contribute to rough seas around the coastline.

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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