File picture: NSRI
File picture: NSRI

Teen swept out to sea by rip currents in Jeffreys Bay saved by local girls

By ANA Reporter Time of article published Feb 7, 2021

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JEFFREYS BAY - The combined efforts of four local teenage girls in Jeffreys Bay in the Eastern Cape contributed to saving the life of another teenage girl who was being swept out to sea by rip currents, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said on Sunday.

NSRI Jeffreys Bay duty crew were alerted at 4.10pm on Saturday afternoon to a drowning in progress at Checkers Beach at Jeffreys Bay, NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon said in a statement.

NSRI Jeffreys Bay rescue swimmers, Eastern Cape government emergency medical services (EMS), and Private Care and Gardmed ambulance services responded to the scene, he said.

On arrival, NSRI rescuers and the emergency services found a 17-year-old girl had been rescued safely to the beach by the combined efforts of four local teenage girls.

"The casualty teenager was showing signs and symptoms of a non-fatal drowning and she was treated by paramedics in an ambulance before being released in good health requiring no further assistance," Lambinon said.

It appeared that a brother and sister, from Hankey near Humansdorp, had been swept out to sea by rip currents. The boy had managed to get to shore safely and unscathed, but his sister was caught in strong rip currents.

"Local girls Lisa Stumpf, 19, and Megan Johnson, 14, who were nearby at the beach at the time, were approached by a lady frantically asking them for help. The lady was indicating that her son and her daughter were being swept out to sea and they were in danger in the surfline.

"Lisa and Megan, seeing the girl and the boy in difficulty in the surfline, immediately alerted their friend Abbygail Janse van Rensburg, 14, and Lisa's twin sister Karla Stumpf, 19. They all live adjacent to that beach.

"Abbygail is the daughter of a founding member and former station commander of NSRI Jeffreys Bay Rieghard Janse van Rensburg. Between them, the girls raised the alarm alerting NSRI and the emergency services," Lambinon said.

At that stage the boy had managed to reach the shore without assistance, but the girl was still caught in rip currents and she continued to be swept further out to sea.

"The four local girls knew that they needed to act fast and time was of the essence, so Lisa handed Abbygail a bodyboard to be used for floatation instead of running the hundred metres down the beach to fetch the NSRI pink rescue buoy that is stationed on that beach.

"Karla put on a pair of flippers and, together, Abbygail and Karla swam 100 metres out to sea through the surf and they reached the casualty girl who was still caught up in the rip currents," he said.

Using the body-board for floatation, Abbygail and Karla assisted the casualty girl to float and then they guided her through the breaking surf safely to the beach.

At that stage, the NSRI Jeffreys Bay crew and paramedics were arriving at the beach and the casualty girl was medically assessed by paramedics.

Following some medical treatment in an ambulance, she was released, requiring no further assistance. The NSRI commended the four local girls for their combined efforts that contributed to saving the life of the teenager, Lambinon said.

- African News Agency (ANA), editing by Jacques Keet

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