Bystander rescuer Johan Lambrecht, 46, from Strand, Cape Town, and the rescued teenager Kavish Narshi, 16, from Cape Town. Picture: NSRI Wilderness

Wilderness - The National Sea Rescue Institute's (NSRI) recently launched "pink rescue flotation buoy" programme proved to be a lifesaver when it was used for the first time by a member of the public to rescue a teenager at Wilderness Beach this week.

An NSRI pink rescue flotation buoy was used by a brave bystander to save the life of a teenager on Thursday afternoon, NSRI Wilderness duty controller Michael Vonk said.

NSRI Wilderness duty crew were activated just after midday following eye-witness reports of a drowning in progress in the sea in front of the Wilderness Hotel, he said.

"An NSRI sea rescue craft was in the process of being launched and lifeguards were also activated by NSRI to respond directly to the scene using their quad bike, approximately 3km from their station.

"When lifeguards arrived on the scene, they confirmed that a 16-year-old male was successfully rescued from the water by a member of the public who had used an NSRI pink rescue flotation buoy that is stationed at the foot of the stairs to the beach," Vonk said.

Lifeguards waded into the surf to assist the bystander with the casualty that he had just rescued to get out of the water the last few metres. The teenager was not injured, and after being examined by paramedics, was declared medically fit and he required no further assistance.

Picture: NSRI Wilderness

"NSRI spoke to and commended the bystander rescuer Mr Johan Lamprecht, from Strand, Cape Town, who had noticed the teenager in trouble in the surf, and he had grabbed the NSRI pink rescue flotation buoy and using the information on the board his family members raised the alarm while he jumped into the surf with the rescue buoy.

"He was able to reach the teenager and get him safely to the beach as lifeguards were arriving, followed by NSRI and by the emergency services," Vonk said.

Eyewitness, Claudine, said, “The pink buoy was a lifesaver; it definitely helped to save a life.”

NSRI commended Lamprecht and his family members for their quick action in grabbing the buoy, and the family members who used the information on the NSRI board to raise the alarm. Multiple eyewitnesses had also called NSRI Wilderness to raise the alarm and the callers were thanked for their concern and quick action, Vonk said.

"This is the first rescue operation that successfully made use of the NSRI pink rescue flotation buoy programme, and this particular NSRI board and pink rescue flotation buoy was put in place on the beach at the foot of the stairs that lead up to the Wilderness Hotel vicinity on the 20th December, 2017.

Picture: NSRI Wilderness

"The NSRI pink rescue flotation buoys are stationed at unprotected beaches along the Southern Cape coastline and parts of the Eastern Cape coastline, with the aim to reach around the coast, and to bolster another initiative by NSRI that saw flotation devices placed at some farm dams," Vonk said.

The roll-out of the NSRI information boards with the flotation buoys started in early November in a project that the NSRI had worked on for over a year and the pilot project was continuing, made possible by corporate and public donations.

"The flotation buoys are bright pink so that they can be easily spotted on the water by responding resources and they are unique to NSRI allowing us greater public participation and co-operation in the protection of the buoys on the beaches. The board and the buoys cost R1400 each, not including the pole and the delivery cost and the planting of the pole. You can purchase a sponsorship online on our Shopify site – https://sea-rescue-supporter.myshopify.com/collections/help-save-a-life."\

African News Agency/ANA