SA Weather Service issue weather warnings

NSRI STATION 21 - St Francis BayNSRI is urging the public to follow the SA Weather Service advisory and to be alert to the approaching storm conditions.

NSRI urge the public to be cautious around the coastline today, tomorrow and over the next few days following the Weather Service alerts to storm conditions causing heavy sea swells and rough seas brought on by the approaching cold front.

Gale Force winds, thunderstorms, hail, rough seas, localised flooding and hail are predicted in places over this time period.

Bathers, boaters, paddlers, sailors, surfers and anglers are urged to be cautious around the coastline during this cold front and for the days following the cold front.

While the alert is concentrated from Alexander Bay to Algoa Bay NSRI urge all coastal users to be cautious at all times and to monitor the weather advisory of SA Weather Service for alerts.

NSRI and Emergency Services are on high alert.

21-year old Norwegian missing in Sedgefield

NSRI STATION 21 - St Francis Bay

Still no sign of missing Norwegian lass Marie Ostboo

NSRI reports an ongoing search operation, headed by the SA Police Services, has found no sign of missing Marie Ostbo and the search and investigations are ongoing.

The SA Police Services, Community Police, a Police K-9 Search and Rescue Unit, a Police Dive Unit, WC Government Health EMS, WSAR (Wilderness Search and Rescue), the ASR/EMS Skymed rescue helicopter, NSRI Wilderness crew, and Neighbourhood Watch members, searched throughout today.

Despite the extensive search only a cellphone, a hat and shoes belonging to Marie, were located and recovered by Police on the beach, in the vicinity, during the early hours of yesterday morning. NSRI Wilderness are on alert to assist Police and the Emergency Services and Neighbourhood Watch are continuing to support Police in their ongoing search.

All possibilities are being explored and investigated.

NSRI and authorities are in communication with family abroad assisted by the SA Police Services, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, the Royal Norwegian Foreign Office and Consulate Services and the Department of Tourism and assistance and support is continuing.

Marie Ostbo

NSRI STATION 21 - St Francis BayAn appeal is made for any information that can assist in locating a 21 year old female who has disappeared in Sedgefield.

Anyone with information that can assist in this case may contact local Police at 044-3431321.

Marie Ostbo, 21, from Norway, (studying in France and on a tour of South Africa) arrived in Sedgefield with a group of young International student tourists on Wednesday, 18th April.

At around 18h00 some of the group went for a walk on the beach and then returned at around 19h00 and Marie was last seen at around 19h00 on the beach, wearing blue jeans and a white shirt, about 100 meters from the backpackers that they are staying at (which is on the beach) but after friends noticed that she had not come inside with the rest of the group they went to look for her but they were unable to find her.

NSRI Wilderness and Community Police were activated at 19h40.

NSRI Wilderness, Community Police, the SA Police Services and a Police K-9 Search and Rescue Unit have not been able to find Marie despite an extensive search and all possibilities are being explored.

A search is continuing.

We appeal to anyone who may have seen Marie (picture attached), or noticed anything that may assist Police in this incident, to contact the Sedgefield Police.

Press Release – NSRI

PE Divers found alive

Two Port Elizabeth divers found alive and well after three-hour search

NSRI STATION 21 - St Francis Bay

Ian Gray‚ station commander of the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), Port Elizabeth reports the Port Elizabeth duty crew was activated on Sunday morning following reports from the Noordhoek Ski-Boat Club that two scuba divers were missing.

A group of recreational divers aboard a Marine Training Centre (MTC) commercial dive boat had gone on a recreational dive some .two kilometres off-shore south of Cape Recife led by a dive master. Also on the dive were a student diver accompanied by dive instructor for deep-sea dive. Because of poor visibility, the dive master called for the dive to be abandoned and all the recreational divers boarded the dive boat. The student diver and his instructor had surfaced some distance away from the boat and because of the glare of the morning sea off the sea they were not seen. Whilst they could see the boat they were unable to catch draw attention and drifted further away from the dive boat.

Fearing the two divers had not surfaced the dive boat started a search and contacted Noordhoek Ski-Boat Club who in turn alerted NSRI Port Elizabeth. The Ski-Boat Club activated a ski-boat to go to the scene and an additional MTC commercial boat and two CDC commercial boats in the area went to the scene to join the original MTC dive boat. The dive boat had deployed a flotation buoy to mark the initial position of where the dive was taking place and attached two life-jackets to increase the buoy’s visibility.

NSRI Port Elizabeth in the meantime launched the sea rescue craft Spirit of Toft and the sea rescue craft Spirit of Surfski 4 was towed to the Noordhoek Ski-Boat Club where it was launched from the club slipway.

EC Government Health EMS, a Police Dive Unit, the NMB (Nelson Mandela Bay) Beach Office and Water Rescue Committee, Coastal Water Rescue and an EMS helicopter, Aeromed 3, were also all activated.

The two sea rescue craft joined the five boats that were on the scene south of Cape Recife.and EMS ambulances stood by at Noordhoek Ski-Boat Club whilst Coastal Water Rescue were deployed on a shoreline search.

A search pattern was given to the Aeromed 3 EMS helicopter and they flew a search operation with those given instructions whilst Police divers prepared to begin a dive search at the initial dive site.

NSRI took all seven boats (two NSRI craft, the initial MTC dive boat, the sister MTC boat, the Noordhoek Ski-Boat Club ski boat, and both CDC commercial boats) 100 meters apart and a sweeping line search was initiated following the direction of the currents and wind direction with NSRI sea rescue craft Spirit of Toft in the middle of that sweeping line search with three boats on each side of Spirit of Toft and taking into account the wind speed and direction and taking into account the sea currents and the initial location of where the divers were meant to be – if they had surfaced and had drifted away then the middle boat of the sweeping line search (NSRI’s Spirit of Toft) should come across the divers on that track.

During the sweeping line search three hours later the search party came across the two divers floating approximately some 8 kilometres northeast from the initial area where they had been diving and they were approximately 4 nautical miles off-shore.

An NSRI rescue swimmer was deployed into the surf and the 2 divers were recovered onto the sea rescue craft.They were both in good spirits and they were treated for mild hypothermia but otherwise, they were only a bit tired and obviously happy to be rescued.

They were brought to shore at the Noordhoek Ski-Boat club where EMS paramedics checked them out and they were released requiring no further medical attention.

They confirmed that with the sun behind them, they could see the dive boat but the dive boat could not see them after they had surfaced and they drifted further away until they could no longer see their dive boat but they could see that a search had been started.

While drifting they made themselves comfortable, they stayed together and drifted. At one stage they could hear the helicopter and knowing a search was underway, they later heard the motors of the boats searching for them before Spirit of Toft came across them during that first leg of the sweeping line search.

Both local adult males, diving instructor Jean Snyman, 45, and his student diver Rezano Damoense, 36.

NSRI commended all services and the private and the commercial boats involved and Noordhoek Ski-Boat Club, in particular, the MTC commercial dive boat that raised the alarm without any hesitation and marking the initial site.

And‚ to add to the tale‚ the NSRI discovered that Damoense had applied to join the NSRI in Port Elizabeth as a volunteer and his application had been accepted to weeks ago.

Shark attack off Cape St Francis

Local lad recovering after shark attack

Thankfully the 19-year old lad pulled from the surf by friends and fellow surfers at Cape St Francis beach yesterday afternoon is recovering well in hospital after what was no doubt a harrowing experience. The lad suffered lacerations to his left knee and lower leg and was treated for shock and his injuries on the beach by the NSRI St Francis duty crew and a local doctor. Accompanied by family members, he was transported by a private care ambulance to hospital in a stable condition.

St Francis Today wishes him well in his recovery, as we are sure do the entire St Francis community.

Whilst the type of shark has not been identified the extent of the injuries suffered by the boy, a local St Francis Bay resident, it is thought to have been a relatively small shark but efforts to identify the species is ongoing by shark working groups.

The NSRI, the municipal lifeguards and local authorities are appealing to surfers, paddlers and bathers to stay out of the water at local beaches and are flying a ‘No Swimming’ flag at Cape St Francis until authorities have assessed the danger. In spite of this call and with a good wave running,  several surfers were seen surfing off Seals late yesterday afternoon into the evening.

Obviously the rumours after such an incident abound with claims that ‘it was a Great White’ to ‘3  to 3.5 metres’ but there has been no confirmation of size or type according to Stuart Obrey  Deputy Station Commander NSRI St Francis. There is also talk of long-line fishing boats using a practice called ‘chumming’ but these are no more than claims but are being investigated. The public, especially those who fish deep sea, are encouraged to report any incidences of illegal fishing practices they may witness and immediately report it to the authorities and NSRI.

Bathers will have noticed the water has been unseasonably warm over the past few days

A shark bite kit stored at Cape St Francis beach was used to assist in the treatment of the patient.


SA Air Force joins search

NSRI STATION 21 - St Francis Bay

SA Air Force 28 Squadron C-130 aircraft joins search off Paradise Beach

NSRI Jeffreys Bay duty crew were activated early yesterday morning following an eyewitness report of a person appearing to be in difficulty in the surf off-shore of the lagoon at Paradise Beach before disappearing beneath the surf.

The sea rescue craft Discovery Rescue Runner 12 and Eddie Beaumont II were launched and a sea search was initiated.

A sea rescue vehicle and Paradise Beach Neighbourhood Watch assisted in a shore search.

St Francis residents yesterday would have seen and heard the SA Air Force 28 Squadron C-130 aircraft that was flying over St Francis Bay on a sea rescue exercise. The plane was diverted and assisted in an aerial search and flew an extensive search pattern.

The SA Police Services and Kouga Fire and Rescue Services were placed on alert.

Despite an extensive search no sign of a person has been located and there have been no reports of anyone missing or overdue.

After all efforts were exhausted a formal search has been suspended pending any new information and the SA Police Services will monitor for any missing persons reports.

The credible eye-witness is commended for his assistance on the scene.

SA Air Force C-130

Press Release NSRI

Body recovered

National Sea Rescue

Body of youngster recovered

NSRI confirmed that sadly on Saturday, 27th January afternoon, the body of a 12 year old male, missing in the surf since Friday, was located on the beach at Main Beach, and recovered by the SA Police Services and the body has been taken into the care of the Forensic Pathology Services.

Condolences are conveyed to the family.

An inquest docket has been opened by Police.

See original NSR media statement below and the bathing alert for the Full (Blue) Moon on Wednesday

At 16h54, Friday, 26th January, NSRI St Francis Bay duty crew responded to Main Beach following reports of a drowning in progress.

The sea rescue craft Spirit of St Francis II was launched and NSRI rescue swimmers responded directly to the scene.

Private Care ambulance services and the SA Police services were activated.

On arrival on the scene an extensive search commenced for a 12 year old male, believed to be a local, reported by eye-witnesses to have last been seen floating face down in the water after reportedly being swept out to sea by rip currents approximately 20 minutes prior to NSRI arriving on the scene.

A shoreline search by NSRI crew and 7 NSRI crew and NSRI rescue swimmers deployed into the surf conducting a sweeping line free dive search in the surfline and a search conducted from the sea rescue craft in the breakers but despite the extensive search no sign of the boy has been found.

Police opened an investigation and a Police Dive Unit and K-9 Search and Rescue are continuing in an ongoing search operation.

Safety Alert:

NSRI are urging the public to be cautious around the coastline for the remainder of this weekend as the beginning phase of the 31st January Full Moon (Blue Moon) Spring Tide has begun to increase in intensity  as it builds towards the Spring Tide Peak on Wednesday 31st January.

The full moon Spring Tide will affect the coastline from today, peaking on Wednesday, 31st January, and lasting until after the first weekend of February.

Bathers, anglers, coastal hikers and beach strollers are urged to be cautious.

Bathers should only go to beaches where and when lifeguards are on duty and swim within the safe demarcated swimming zones that lifeguards post using their red and yellow flags.