Stranded PMB couple’s helicopter rescue

2015-01-27 00:00

A PIETERMARITZBURG couple were plucked from a rocky outcrop by helicopter after they were stranded by rising tide in Gordon’s Bay in the Western Cape on Sunday.

The couple, along with 19 others, had walked to a section of beach near Kogel Bay during low tide. As the tide swept in again, their route back to the mainland was cut off. Before encroaching waves swept the group out to sea, they were hoisted to safety in a helicopter rescue.

NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon said reports of the group trapped in a cove at Dappat se Gat between Gordon’s Bay and Pringle Bay.

“It appears that groups of people had gone onto the popular coved beach during the spring low tide, not realising that high tide would cut them off from getting back out to the mainland and that the spring tide’s high tide risked engulfing the cove,” he said.

All but one man was lifted to safety by the hovering helicopter, which had run low on fuel. Rescuers descended down a steep cliff and then pulled the man to safety.

“When rescue teams left the scene, most of the cove was engulfed by water. It has been indicated that even if the 21 people had huddled to the highest point of the cove, it may only have been at around midnight [yesterday] before they would have had any chance at low tide to get back to mainland, and dressed in normal day beach wear, it was predicted that most would have succumbed to hypothermia. Not all of the 21 people would have been able to remain in the cove in the incoming tide and at high tide, and it is strongly suspected that a number of the people may have been swept into the sea,” Lambinon said.

• If you know who the rescued PMB couple are, contact jeff.wicks@witness.co.za

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