Fisherman airlifted to hospital after spear is embedded in his leg

A spear fisherman’s spear became embedded in his right upper leg today, 25 August, at Buffels Bay and he had to be airlifted to hospital by helicopter.

 The spear protuded from both sides of his leg but indications are it missed his femoral artery and he is expected to make a full recovery.

 Darren Zimmerman, NSRI Simonstown station commander, said at 8.15 am NSRI Simonstown volunteer sea rescue duty crew were activated following reports about the injured spear fisherman at Boytjies Drift, near Buffels Bay, Cape Point.

 “The man, 38 year old Willie van Wyk, from Hout Bay, and a friend were wading across rocks preparing to get into the water to go spear fishing early this morning when a wave washed over them causing them to be dragged over rocks by the force of the water. In the process it appears that the spear from his spear gun went through the man’s leg.

 “There were fears that the spear may have penetrated or severed his femoral artery and an urgent medical rescue response was activated. Our NSRI Simonstown duty crew responded in our sea rescue vehicle and CMR (Cape Medical Response) ambulance, the WC Government Health EMS and the Red Cross AMS Skymed helicopter responded.

 “Paramedics stabilised the man before bolt cutters were used to shorten the spear that was embedded right through the leg. The man would not have been able to be loaded into either an ambulance or into the helicopter if the spear was not shortened on each side.

 “It is unclear if the spear gun was loaded and actually fired through his leg but based on the injury and the force that would have been required to go through the upper leg, it is most likely that the spear gun was loaded and then fired while the two men were being rolled about over the rocks after being hit by the wave.

 “The man was airlifted by Skymed to hospital in a stable condition where doctors will surgically remove the spear from his leg. “


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