Wind battered paddle skier rescued
Cape Town – Authorities in Cape Town were forced to respond after a 60-year-old man on board a paddle ski was blown away from shore by strong winds off Mnandi beach on the False Bay coast on Monday.
The National Sea Rescue Institute’s Strandfontein station commander Mario Fredericks said the rescue service was alerted just after 1pm by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) reporting a lone paddler being swept out to sea on a paddle-ski at Kapteinseklip, Mnandi.
“It appears that the 60 year old man, from Plumstead, had launched this morning at Mnandi Beach, to fish from his paddle-ski, a normal weekday leisure activity for him, but strong off-shore winds began to pick up suddenly at around 10am while he was only a few hundred meters off-shore and the man tried to paddle back to shore but increasing wind speeds prevented him from getting to shore.
“He was able to reach rocks at Kapteinseklip, off-shore of Mnandi Beach, and sheltered there when bystanders seeing him in peril raised the alarm.”
Fredericks said NSRI Strandfontein volunteers prepared to launch their sea rescue craft while an NSRI sea rescue vehicle and CMR (Cape Medical Response) responded directly to the scene by road.
The EMS/AMS Skymed rescue helicopter was also placed on alert.
“While responding to the scene we alerted the local Law Enforcement Marine officers and they launched their rescue rigid inflatable rubber-duck at Mnandi and rescued the man from the rocks and brought him safely to shore without incident.”
Law Enforcement Marine officers also recovered the man’s paddle-ski.
“The man was not injured but he was extremely grateful for the quick response perhaps realising the consequences and had he not managed to reach the rocks as when he launched to go fishing conditions were windless but wind speeds had steadily increased to around 15 knots during the morning and in an hour at midday strengthened from 15 knots to around 26 knots (48 km/h).”
The NSRI urged sea users to check out the weather before launching craft onto water and to always be prepared for the worst.