Sinking paddler saved

2014-11-24 00:00

TWO flares packed in foresight saved the life of a Durban ­paddle-skier whose ski took on water and began to sink kilometres away from land yesterday.

Tyrone Jordaan was rescued in dramatic fashion by the NSRI and Police Search and Rescue Unit officers, who responded to sighting of his emergency flares fired in desperation.

As his ski dipped beneath the swells, Jordaan had made the urgent effort to fire of two flares he kept in a dry hatch, which would ultimately save his life.

“I figured out how lucky I was to have my life-jacket and my flares. If I didn’t have that kit I would have been gone. I would have been dead,” he said.

Yesterday, Jordaan recounted his ordeal.

“I had launched from Anstey’s beach at about 4 am with a couple of friends and while I was getting out through the break I was hit by a wave and was washed off. I didn’t realise it at the time but when it happened I must have damaged the ski,” he said.

“I managed to get about 5 km out to sea when I noticed that I was paddling but wasn’t going anywhere. I looked behind me and saw that the back was sinking. I decided to rush for shore and my friends stayed out.

“I was about 2 km away and I knew that I was in trouble. The boat became completely unstable and I even fell off. It was just taking on so much water and I realised that I was never going to make it back like this. I reached into my dry hatch and grabbed a flare, which I launched,” he said.

“I was trying my best not to panic and I was really hoping that people would see the flare and not just fob it off as a prank. A couple of minutes passed and I used my second smoke flare and actually climbed into the nose of the boat to try and keep it from sinking completely.

“I picked out my markers on land and just paddled like mad for about an hour just trying to stay in the same place. That’s when I saw another paddle-skier who came to my aid and was going to start towing me in when I saw the NSRI boat.”

NSRI station commander Clifford Ireland said “At 6.45 am we were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority following eyewitness reports of red distress flares off-shore of Anstey’s Beach on the Bluff.

“We responded with our sea rescue craft. On arrival it found local Tyrone Jordaan in the ­water next to his fishing ski which had filled with water,” ­Ireland said.

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