Family of six cut off by swollen river at Hankey rescued by NSRI

 NSRI Jeffreys Bay today rescued a family with two  ill children who were trapped at a Hankey camping site following the flooding of the Berg River.

Photo: NSRI NSRI Jeffreys Bay rescued a family of six trapped by swollen river at Hankey today
Photo: NSRI
NSRI Jeffreys Bay rescued a family of six trapped by swollen river at Hankey today

The mother, father, grandmother, a 10 year-old girl, a little boy of 3 years and a girl of 18 months were taken across the river in relays by the NSRI that set up a rope line.

The NSRI Jeffreys Bay was activated around 10 am this morning, 5 April,  following a call from NSRI Port Elizabeth reporting a group of people cut off from the main exit route by the swollen Berg River. The people were at the camping site 30 kms from Jeffreys Bay.

Heavy  rains were experienced in the area last night (125 mm of rainfall overnight). The situation deteriorated overnight with the Berg River becoming increasingly swollen by floods blocking the only route out.

NSRI Jeffreys Bay dispatched a swift water rescue team, accompanied by Daniel Hyman, the NSRI Regional Training Officer, who  was at NSRI Jeffreys Bay at the time and who is experienced in swift water rescue techniques. The NSRI volunteer duty crew joined Government Health Ems and the SAP  at the site.

A number of weekend campers woshed to remain at the camp site to wait out the flood subsiding. But a family of six needed to leave the campsite urgently since the two youngest children – the  18 month-old and the 3 year-old – were suffering from dehydration, fevers and diarrhoea. The 3 year-old boy was in a more serious condition and they needed to get to hospital.

The 10 year-old boy also needed to get to the airport to fly to Johannesburg. They whole family was ferried safely across and then taken to hospital for treatment and later released.

The NSRI volunteers delivered fresh fire wood, supplies and drinking water to the camp site for the remaining campers who remained behind. A rope line was left with them in case it was needed.


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