A German woman tourist in Cape St Francis was nearly swept out to sea by a rip current at Cape St Francis main beach yesterday afternoon, 26 February 2015.
The woman, Marthina Wondra, 47, from Germany, was fortunately helped ashore by her husband and others in her tour group, but lay at the water’s edge exhausted and with breathing difficulties. She had apparently swum out too far and had not realised there was a rip current.
The St Francis Bay NSRI was activated by a member of the public at 2 pm who reported a near drowning incident. The tour group operator, also of Germany, had raised the alarm.
NSRI duty coxswain, Marc May, and NSRI volunteer duty crew went to the beach and requested assistance of paramedics from Private Care Ambulance Service, Humansdorp.
The NSRI medics treated the woman at the beach and wrapped her in blankets to keep her warm. She was then transferred in a stable condition to the ambulance and to hospital for observation.
On 15 January this year, a 65-year-old woman from the Netherlands drowned at Cape St Francis after being swept out to sea in a strong rip current.
According to the NSRI’s national statistics released in January, there were were a total of 31 fatal drowning incidents at various beaches along South Africa’s coastline (19 adults and 12 children) from 1 December 2014 – 14 January 2015. Rip currents were the greatest risk to bathers, claiming the lives of 9 people ( 5 of whom were children).
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