Edited by Bev Mortimer
Two NSRI volunteers are heroes and have been commended for saving the life of a swimmer who became caught up in a rip current yesterday, 31 October, at Dolphin Beach, Jeffreys Bay.
The man was gradually being swept further out to sea but swift action from the NSRI pair saved him.
The two NSRI heroes are Grant Grove and Dean Wegerle. Grant is an NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) duty controller, a coxswain and rescue swimmer at NSRI Strandfontein, plus he is also a rescue swimmer at the NSRI Airborne Sea Rescue Unit. Dean is the NSRI Events and Community Fundraising Manager and a coxswain and rescue swimmer at NSRI Table Bay.
The pair had been on a field trip visiting NSRI stations and had just completed a successful NSRI Oyster Bay Boere Dance fundraising event. On their way to the Wild Coast they stopped at Jeffreys Bay to walk on Dolphin Beach. In front of the NSRI Jeffreys Bay rescue station, they noticed a man caught up in a rip current and the two NSRI volunteers realised the danger he was in.
Grant grabbed the NSRI Pink Rescue Buoy at that beach while Dean alerted the Jeffreys Bay duty crew to a drowning in progress at 4.50 pm.
Grant swam about 100 meters out to sea where he reached the casualty, a local man aged in his 40s. The man was at first reluctant to accept help but when the pink buoy was passed to him, he grabbed it, holding on tightly.
Grant encouraged him to tread water while Dean swam parallel to the beach, pulling him along with him until they were free of the rip current. Then they used the incoming waves and reached the shoreline safely.
By this time NSRI Jeffreys Bay crew had arrived. The relieved man was uninjured and required no further assistance.
The NSRI HO has commended the swift reaction of Grant and Dean. Andrew Ingram, NSRI Drowning Prevention Manager, says this is the 79th time that a life has been saved with the contribution of an NSRI Pink Rescue Buoy since the 2017 inception of the NSRI Pink Rescue Buoy program. He adds that NSRI Pink Rescue Buoys are stationed around the coastline at beaches which are not patrolled by lifeguards.