Boy critical after near drowning at Oyster Bay

NSRI STATION 21 - St Francis Bay

Richard Kettledas, left, and NSRI Oyster Bay commander Lodewyk van Rensburg –  Image: NSRI


NSRI Oyster Bay duty crew was activated early afternoon on Monday (13th) to investigate reports, from an NSRI coast watcher of children launching into the surf with the NSRI Pink Rescue Buoy. Concerned as to why the buoy was being used he alerted NSRI.

Station Commander Lodewyk van Rensburg happened to be nearby and immediately proceeded to main beach and immediately established that a group of seven local males (three teenagers, three children, and an adult, their uncle) had been caught in rip currents while swimming.

Three of the children and one of the teenagers were not too deep and had managed to escape the rip and get to shore safely. The other two teenagers, both aged 14, had however been swept out to sea.

The uncle, Ricardo Kettledas, had instructed the children to go and grab the pink buoy for him and he launched into the surf with the pink buoy. He was able to rescue one of the teenagers and bring the now unconscious boy ashore showing signs of non-fatal drowning.

When van Rensburg arrived at the scene he placed the rescued boy in the recovery position but discovered the other boy was still missing in the surf.

Knowing that additional sea rescue crew were due on the scene within minutes van Rensburg left the teenager in the recovery position in the care of the other boys and he, with Kettledas, launched into the surf. At the backline they were able to reach the remaining teenager who was lifeless in the water.

Kettledas still had the pink rescue buoy with him, and assisted by the pink rescue buoy the teenager was brought to shore. Once on land van Rensburg immediately commenced with CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) efforts on the boy who was not breathing and had no pulse.

Private Care ambulance services had already been activated and the NSRI duty crew arrived on the scene and a pulse and spontaneous breathing was restored during CPR efforts and the teenager was taken into the care of paramedics . He and the first teenager were transported to hospital by Private Care ambulance with both boys in a serious condition. The first boy is recovering but the second at time of publishing was still in ICU in a Port Elizabeth hospital in a serious condition.

NSRI commend Ricardo Kettledas, 29, for his assistance.


Skiing Accident on the Kromme

NSRI STATION 21 - St Francis Bay

NSRI St Francis Bay duty crew was called into action on Sunday evening following a request for assistance from an NSRI Oyster Bay crewman, on the Kromme River in his private boat, reporting a teenager injured while water-skiing on a knee-board on the river four kilometers upstream.

The NSRI Oyster Bay crewman, Marc Mans, had witnessed the accident and using his private boat had gone to the aid of the male teenager and alerted NSRI St Francis Bay.

Marc had secured the teenager onto a board, removing him from the water, and taking him onboard his boat. The teenager was then taken to Marc’s housing complex where NSRI St Francis Bay medics and Private Care ambulance services rendezvoused with them. From there the teenager was taken into the care of paramedics and he was been transported to hospital by Private Care ambulance in a stable condition, accompanied by his dad


Boat capsizes off Kromme and spear fishermen have a shark encounter

Ski Boat capsizes off Kromme mouth and two spear fishermen have encounter with a shark off Wild Side

NSRI St Francis Bay duty crew were activated early on Monday following reports of a boat capsized with seven people onboard, including children, all wearing life-jackets, at the mouth of the Kromme River.

The sea rescue craft Spirit of St Francis II was launched and NSRI crew responded directly to the scene and found that all seven were safely ashore by the time NSRI arrived.

One girl was treated for an arm injury and a slight laceration to the head and she was taken to a local doctor for further medical care.

The remaining six crew were not injured.

They are regular visitors on holiday from up-country and not being familiar with the changes in the estuary it appears that they hit a sand bank that possibly contributed to the boat capsizing

Assisted by members of the public NSRI righted and recovered the capsized boat and we commend the public members who helped.

In a rather scary incident off the Wild Side, Cape St Francis last Saturday (4th January)  two spear fishermen diving in a gulley about 250m offshore, had an encounter with what is thought to have been a great white shark.  They had four bonitos on a stringer when the shark swooped in and took their bounty which was attached a buoy and to Juan Moore’s speargun. Moore was dragged several metres before he was able to release his spear gun.

Neither diver was injured and they swam ashore no worse for wear from their experience.

 A smaller great white had been seen in the area the previous day as well a few Bronze Whalers and there is a fair amount of fish around at the moment, an obvious attraction to sharks.

There has been a fair amount of shark activity including an incident with two ski paddlers off Oyster Bay  a couple of weeks back as well as the incident off Nahoon Beach in East London where a paddler competing in an event had his ski damaged by a great white that left a 40cm hole in his craft.  In another incident  at nearby Nature’s Valley also just before Christmas and reported by SFT a  spear fisherman was also dragged by a shark after spearing a mussel cracker which the shark found to be a delectable entree.

Looking back at Cape St Francis Lighthouse from the Wild Side. Photo by Martin Barbour

Teenager drowned two missing off Wells Estate Beach, – PE

Late yesterday (Wednesday 8th Jamuary) a call was relayed by the SA Police Services to the NMB (Nelson Mandela Bay) Water Rescue Group reporting a drowning in progress at Wells Estate Beach.

The NMB Beach Office municipal lifeguards, Coastal Water Rescue, the SA Police Services, a Police Dive Unit and Eastern Cape Government Health EMS responded.

NSRI were requested to be on stand-by.

On arrival on the scene bystander CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) efforts were found being conducted on an 18 year old male, who had washed onto the shore and a male teenager, age 17, who had also washed onto the shore, was not injured.

One male, age 20, and one male, age 28, were missing in the surf.

NMB Beach Office lifeguards launched a RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) to search for the two missing males.

Paramedics had continued with CPR efforts on the teenager and despite extensive CPR efforts, after all efforts to resuscitate the teenager were exhausted, sadly he was declared deceased.

NSRI Port Elizabeth duty were activated to respond to assist in a search for the two missing men.

NSRI Port Elizabeth dispatched a sea rescue vehicle and the sea rescue craft JLT rescuer was launched.

On NSRI’s arrival on the scene they joined in the search and assisted in an extensive sea and shoreline search but no sign of the two missing men was been found and Police are tasked to continue in an ongoing search.

Police have opened an inquest docket.

The body of the deceased teenager has been taken into the care of Government Health Forensic Pathology Services.

It appears that the two teenagers and the 20 year old man were swimming when they were caught in rip currents. A 28 year old bystander launched into the surf to try to help but he was swept away by rip currents.

NSRI, on behalf of all services involved, convey condolences to the family and friends of the deceased teenager. 

NSRI come to aid of stricken surf skiers

NSRI Plettenberg Bay duty crew were activated early Sunday afternoon following a request for assistance from an NSRI Plettenberg Bay crewman, one of 12 male Surf-skiers on an 18km downwind dash, from Plettenberg Bay to Natures Valley, reporting multiple Surf-skiers in difficulty at Natures Valley Beach.

The group of Surf-skiers had arrived off-shore of Natures Valley to find rough sea conditions, strong rip currents and increasing wind speeds estimated at 30 knots gusting to 35 knots making it difficult to get through the surfline to the beach.

The sea rescue craft Ray Farnham Rescuer and Leonard Smith Rescuer were launched and NSRI rescue swimmers, Natures Valley lifeguards and WC Government Health EMS responded to the scene and the EMS/AMS Skymed rescue helicopter was activated.

While responding to the scene it was confirmed that five surf skiers, two of them having lost their surf-ski’s, were reportedly caught in rip currents and were at the mercy of the sea.

Natures Valley lifeguard Chris Pannell had launched into the surf to assist.

When the sea rescue craft arrived on the scene the lifeguard in the surfline was picked up onto the sea rescue craft and a Surf-skier was located in the water without his Surf-ski approximately 500 meters off-shore and he was rescued onto the sea rescue craft. it is believed his Surf-ski washed ashore.

The sea rescue craft then headed to beyond the back-line where three Surf-skiers were still on their craft and one Surf-skier was found in the water and we believe his Surf-ski washed ashore. He was taken taken from the water aboard the sea rescue craft and re-warming efforts were initiated as he was severely hypothermic.

Another Surf-skier and his craft were taken onto our sea rescue craft and taken to shore and dropped off where the first man that that was Contentrescued, dropping them off close to the beach and they were able to wade ashore safely.

With the lifeguard still onboard our sea rescue craft, and assisting with the rescue, the craft returned to the back-line and picked up the remaining two surf-skiers and their craft bringing them to shore, dropping them and the lifeguard off close to the beach, where they were met by two NSRI rescue swimmers with NSRI Pink Rescue Buoys, and by lifeguards, who had waded into the surf to assist them to the beach.

EMS paramedics, assisted by NSRI and by the lifeguards, medically checked on the well-being of the Surf-skiers who were now on the beach and they were all fine.

The decision was taken to transport the hypothermic patient to the sea rescue base as re-warming efforts continued with two of the rescuer crew buddy hugging the man to provide body heat to assist with the rewarming process. By the time the rescue craft  reached the sea rescue base a significant improvement in the man’s condition was noted.

At the sea rescue base, following additional re-warming efforts, the man was fully recovered and his friends came to fetch him to take him home.

NSRI commend lifeguard Chris Pannell who launched into very rough seas to go to the aid of those in peril. Coincidentally NSRI had conducted routine training with the lifeguards, including Chris, just a week prior to this incident.

The unique circumstances around Plettenberg Bay coastline where rip-currents can sometimes prevent a swimmers from getting back to shore, lifeguards are trained to alert NSRI before launching into the surf with their Personal Protective Equipment and flotation rescue devices, and on reaching the casualty take the casualty to the back-line keeping them afloat at the back-line until the sea rescue craft arrive to assist.

NSRI Pink Buoy

Please do not remove these, you could cost someone their life!


NSRI appeal to the bathers to only swim at beaches protected by lifeguards, in between the posted flags and only swim during the lifeguard beach stand-by times.

NSRI are appealing to boaters and paddlers of craft launching to go to sea to download, from our web page, and use the free cellphone app. NSRI RSA SafeTrx.

NSRI are appealing to parents and care providers to ensure children have responsible safety supervision in and around water and when swimming.

Caution is advised in and around inland waters, rivers, lakes and dams and swimming pools should have child proof covers and child proof surrounding fences.


NSRI Safety Appeal

NSRI continue to appeal to the public to only swim at beaches protected by lifeguards and only swim during the lifeguard beach stand-by times.

NSRI are appealing to boaters and paddlers of craft launching to go to sea to download, from our web page, and use the free cellphone app. NSRI RSA SafeTrx.

NSRI are appealing to parents and care providers to ensure children have responsible safety supervision in and around water and when swimming.

NSRI, Lifeguards, Maritime authorities, Emergency Services, Emergency Medical Services, Fire and Rescue Services, Police, Traffic and Law Enforcement are on high alert to assist the public during the summer vacation period and we are urging the public to have a safety conscious mind-set in and around our coastal and inland waterways.

The next Spring Tide is on 12th December at Full Moon. The higher than normal high tides and the lower than normal low tides has already begun around the coast and will peak on the 12th December and last until at least around the 17th December. Caution around the coast is advised to bathers, anglers and coastal hikers.


NSRI Knysna duty crew were activated on Wednesday afternoon ollowing reports from Knysna Fire and Rescue Services who received eye-witness reports of a jet-ski accident on Knysna Lagoon in the vicinity of Belvedere. The reports were from a family reporting an adult male family member had fallen off a jet-ski and the 9 year old daughter of family friends was still on the jet-ski but adrift on the lagoon.

The sea rescue craft Jolen was launched and our NSRI rescue vehicle, Knysna Fire and Rescue Services and NSRI rescue swimmers responded.

On arrival on the scene the man was seen swimming to shore and the girl safe but adrift on the jet-ski on the lagoon.

It appeared the local man and the 9 year old daughter (of family friends) were riding together on a jet-ski when the man fell off the jet-ski and the kill-switch (attached to his arm) stopped the motor of the jet-ski when he fell off but the jet-ski drifted away from him in currents.
Currents were too strong for the man to swim to catch up with the jet-ski and the jet-ski, with the girl on the jet-ski, drifted away from the man.
He swam to shore against the currents which took him approximately 20 minutes to get the 200 meters to shore because of strong currents.

The girl stayed on the jet-ski, safe but adrift on the lagoon.

The NSRI crew on a sea rescue craft located the jet-ski and the girl on the lagoon. She was taken aboard the sea rescue craft which was then towed to shore safely. Once the man and the girl were safely ashore they were reunited with their families and the jet-ski was recovered and no further assistance was required. 

Be safe out there whether swimming, boating, jet skiing or fishing