‘Lost’ river guide spends night out in the open

2014-10-27 00:00

A DURBAN river guide was rescued at the weekend after he was separated from his tour group and spent a night exposed to the elements.

Bob Timms was saved by volunteers from the National Sea Rescue Institute after he disappeared while on a water safari on the Bushman’s River near Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape.

It is understood that Timms had been leading six European tourists up the river by kayak for an overnight camp.

NSRI Port Alfred station commander Juan Pretorius said that a backpacker lodge had raised the alarm.

“On Saturday night the duty crew were activated following reports of a tourist group and their river guide in difficulties during a river paddle on the Bushman’s River.”

“The tourists had contacted the lodge reporting that the river guide had paddled further upstream, leaving them behind to look for a camping site where they could spend the night. The tourists were concerned that he had not returned, and although they were safe, they were not sure where to set up camp. They also feared for his safety since it was getting dark,” Pretorius said.

“We started to search upstream, and another boat had come across the six tourists and were in the process of bringing them back downstream, but there was no sign of the guide.”

The volunteers searched into the early hours of the morning and called off the search to resume at first light.

During their search, they found Timms on the river bank.

“He has been brought downstream safely and reunited with his girlfriend. It appears that he had dragged his canoe ashore last night and had fallen asleep. He was treated for hypothermia,” Pretorius said.

• jeff.wicks@witness.co.za

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