Port Edward: two men swept out to sea while trying to save doomed humpback

2011-10-17 00:00

TWO men were swept out to sea by rip currents at Port Edward on Saturday evening while trying to save a whale.

Craig Lambinon, spokesperson for the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), said volunteer duty crew were called in following reports that a whale was trapped between rocks at Grannies Pool. Port Edward and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) rangers were also summoned to the scene.

Lambinon said Alan Stilwell, the NSRI Port Edward duty controller, reported that a large crowd of bystanders were found trying to help the juvenile humpback whale.

The NSRI launched their sea rescue craft to return to the scene as high tide approached, so that attempts to free the whale could be made from the sea side. “While returning to the scene aboard the NSRI Port Edward sea rescue boat, the situation escala­ted to reports of two men being swept out to sea after four adult bystanders had gone into the surf to try to rescue the whale,” Stilwell said.

“When our sea rescue craft arrived on the scene the two men had been rescued by their two friends and our sea rescue crew treated them for neardrowning symptoms.”

Meanwhile, the whale had been freed from the rocks by the incoming tide.

Lambinon said all four men were taken to hospital by Netcare 911 ambulance for observation for secondary drowning.

The dead whale body was found washed up on the beach in Port Edward by conservation rangers yesterday.

The Witness reported last week that a baby humpbacked whale that was towed out to sea by a ski boat after being washed up on the rocks near Uvongo Beach on Monday also died.

The EKZNW spokesperson could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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