Hero restaurant owner saves tourists from rip tide

2015-10-16 12:50
The view from the Sandown Blues Restaurant and Cocktail Bar in Kleinmond. (Supplied, Paul Richards)

The view from the Sandown Blues Restaurant and Cocktail Bar in Kleinmond. (Supplied, Paul Richards)

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George - A quick-thinking Kleinmond restaurant owner used his knowledge of the sea to guide three tourists to safety after they swept out by a rip tide on Thursday.

Thanks to the efforts of Paul Richards, the three women - a 56-year-old and 19-year-old from Australia, as well as an 18-year-old from Botswana - were able to get back to the beach safely after being swept away by a strong rip current.

Speaking to News24 on Friday, Richards said he was just leaving his beachside restaurant when he noticed a woman waving at him from the ocean.

The alert Richards, owner of the Sandown Blues Restaurant and Cocktail Bar, said he instantly knew the women were in trouble.

“I could see they were at a bad spot and got one of our waitresses to call the police. I noticed they were trying to swim back in against the current. This is when I realised they were making a mistake and required assistance.”

‘It will tire you out’

Richards then went to a nearby rock to advise the women with mostly hand gestures and arm movements, to move with the current and not against it.

“I eventually went onto the beach where I could communicate a bit better. If you swim against this current it will tire you out. Once I guided them, one by one, they began making their way to the shore.”

When they eventually reached dry land, the women were tired, but relieved and thankful. He could only speak to them for a short while, and they left after paramedics made sure they were okay.

Richards said the entire ordeal lasted around 30 minutes, and added that it was not the first time people had been pulled in by the current in that area.

“This is a bad spot. You could be standing in water waist deep and after getting hit by one wave will no longer be on your feet and land in much deeper water.”

‘Time is a factor’

Richards said he would now be keeping two boogie boards and some buoys to assist those in emergency in the future.

“We have a lot of police, fire department and other emergency services but I do not think I saw one flotation device. Time is a factor with these occurrences so it is important to assist immediately.”

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) spokesperson Craig Lambinon commended Richards for his “swift action”.

“We believe they were caught in the new moon spring tide rip currents while swimming, causing them to be swept out to sea. The spring tide peaked on October 13, and strong rip currents will be experienced around the coast until after the coming weekend,” he cautioned.

Read more on:    george  |  maritime

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