Two men averted a drowning in Rooi Els, Western Cape, on Friday morning, according to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI).
In a statement released on Saturday, NSRI Kleinmond spokesperson Tania Meiring said the local duty crew were activated at 7.18am on Friday following reports of a drowning in progress in Rooi Els.
Two men, aged 27 and 19, had been swept off the rocks while crayfishing and were being swept out to sea. A floatation tube had been thrown to them by friends on the shore and they were holding onto it, but they were unable to reach the rocks because of heavy sea conditions.
NSRI Kleinmond dispatched rescue swimmers to the scene. The NSRI Gordon’s Bay duty crew were activated and launched their sea rescue craft. GB Med Sec ambulance services also responded.
Meanwhile, three local men, William Boltmann, 36, his brother Richard, 32, and their friend Francois Koekemoer, 46, were preparing to go crayfishing on their rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) when they were informed by an NSRI coast-watcher of the crisis.
The two brothers and their friend launched their boat, taking with them the NSRI pink rescue buoy from the slipway.
On their arrival they were unable to get their boat close inshore and they attempted to throw the rescue buoy, which they had attached to a rope, to the two men but it was being blown away in the wind.
William jumped into the water armed with the pink rescue buoy. He reached the first casualty and the crew on the boat pulled them in and onto the boat. William then swam the rescue buoy to the second casualty, and he was also pulled onto the boat and rescued.
NSRI rescue swimmers had arrived on the scene by that stage but both casualties were safe on the RHIB. They were brought to the slipway and taken into the care of GB Med Sec paramedics, who treated them for non-fatal drowning symptoms and for hypothermia.
“NSRI commend the swift action of William Boltmann, his brother Richard, and their friend Francois Koekemoer, who together contributed to saving the lives of the two casualties,” said Meiring.