File picture: NSRI
File picture: NSRI

NSRI issues water safety alert after Port Elizabeth drownings

By African News Agency Time of article published Mar 6, 2021

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PORT ELIZABETH - The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has appealed to the public to keep water safety in mind after two men drowned at a Port Elizabeth beach this week.

“Swim at beaches protected by lifeguards. Only swim in between the lifeguards' safe swimming zone that they post on the beach. Parents must ensure that children have responsible adult supervision around water,” NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon said in a statement on Saturday.

"Don’t go too deep into the surf and if you are caught in rip currents don’t panic, simply stay afloat, go with the current, shout for help so that people on the beach can alert the lifeguards or they can call NSRI. At your first opportunity swim parallel to the beach until you are free of the rip current and then use the incoming waves to get back to shore," he said.

An incident in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday had highlighted the importance of safety around water. NSRI Port Elizabeth were activated at 1.49pm to assist the Nelson Mandela Bay municipal lifeguards, coastal water rescue, Eastern Cape emergency medical services (EMS), and police responding to Maitland Beach, where two men were swept out to sea.

The lifeguards, assisted by coastal water rescue swimmers, arrived on the scene swiftly and were able to recover both men from the surf.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) efforts were conducted by paramedics on both men, but despite the extensive CPR efforts they were both declared dead on the scene.

Another incident in Port Elizabeth on Thursday had focused attention on boating safety.

Boaters, paddlers, and sailboarders were urged to download and use the NSRI RSA SafeTrx free cellphone application from the NRSI web page at www.nsri.org.za.

"Always carry safety equipment, red distress flares, a referee whistle and a torch, wear life-jackets, make sure that your cellphone batteries are fully charged, and monitor the VHF marine channel 16 on your boat marine radio.

NSRI Port Elizabeth were alerted at 6.30pm by the wife of a local fishing boat skipper reporting that he and a crewman were expected back at 3pm from fishing at Bird Island in Algoa Bay and they had failed to return.

She was unable to raise the two men on their cellphones and the alarm was raised.

"An NSRI Port Elizabeth sea rescue craft was launched to head towards Bird Island while the Transnet National Ports Authority and Maritime Radio Services attempted to raise the men on the emergency maritime radio frequency.

"Noordhoek Ski-Boat Club and vessels at sea at the time were alerted to keep a lookout. Concerns escalated after no response was received. While responding to Bird Island, the men were found returning to Port Elizabeth from Bird Island and they confirmed that they were simply running late," Lambinon said.

Their cellphone batteries were exhausted and they had not heard the attempts to raise them on their VHF marine radio. They were safe and they required no assistance.

"NSRI appeal to boaters to stick to a prearranged plan and if you are overdue, make every effort to alert maritime rescue authorities," he said.

- African News Agency

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