The NSRI commended the Good Samaritans for their efforts displayed that saved the lives of the four casualties.
East London, South Africa (29 March 2022) – The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) East London duty crew and Dynamic ambulance services responded to Lietjies Bay following reports that a female had been washed off the rocks by a wave.
The NSRI is a voluntary non-profit organization in South Africa tasked with saving lives through drowning prevention. It operates 41 bases comprising coastal stations and inland stations on dams, and there are over a thousand volunteers on standby at all hours.
The local lady had managed to get back onto the rocks, and 2 NSRI rescue swimmers assisted her and guided her off the rocks. Suffering non-fatal drowning symptoms and bruises, she was transported to the hospital in a stable condition by Dynamic ambulance,
Then at 17h15, eye-witnesses reported four people in distress at Nahoon Beach.
“We launched the sea rescue craft Spirit of DHL and Priority Care ambulance services, and Alderson ambulance services responded,” Geoff McGregor, NSRI East London Operations Manager, explained.
Two local females and two local men had been swept out to sea in rip currents.
A local surfer, Zander Hampson, 30, who was surfing nearby, heard their shouts for help and reached them behind the breakers finding one female to be unresponsive and floating face down in the water.
Zander, a safety officer and a former lifeguard and ambulance medic, used his lifesaving training to place his surfboard under the unresponsive female and roll her over so that she was now lying on his upright surfboard.
“With the unresponsive female on his surfboard, and one male and one female casualty hanging onto his board, he initiated cardiac compressions using his elbow on the unresponsive female’s chest.”
“Zander’s friend, Charne Hirst, 28, who was swimming nearby, went to the aid of the remaining casualty, a man. He was on a bodyboard, and Charne, using his bodyboard for floatation, rescued that man to the shore and raised the alarm alerting NSRI to the emergency.”
On knowing that NSRI were responding, Charne, a local Architect, launched back into the water with that man’s bodyboard and reached Zander and the three casualties.
“Zander has told NSRI that by this stage, he was exhausted, and he placed the bodyboard under his surfboard to create a better platform for the unresponsive female to aid in the chest compressions.”
He then instructed Charne to take over cardiac compressions, guiding her on the technique, on the unresponsive female and between them and the other male and the other female casualty, they used the surfboard holding onto it for floatation.
They were gradually drifting further out to sea.
The sea rescue craft reached them, and all were rescued onto the sea rescue craft. The unresponsive female was now lapsing in and out of consciousness and expelling water out of her mouth. They were brought to shore, where paramedics took over care of the casualties. The two females and one man were transported to the hospital by ambulance in the care of paramedics, with the one female in critical condition and the remaining male and the female in stable conditions. The man that Charne had initially rescued to shore was not injured.
“NSRI has learned that the one female remains in serious condition in hospital, and all hopes are that she makes a full recovery.”
The NSRI commended Good Samaritans Zander and Charne for their efforts displayed that saved the lives of the four casualties.