Man swept off harbour wall in Hermanus

2011-06-25 12:33

Johannesburg - A man drowned after he was swept off the harbour wall at Hermanus in the Western Cape, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said on Saturday.

Spokesperson Craig Lambinon said NSRI volunteers were activated just after midday on Friday.

"According to reports a local whale watching boat crew, who were in the harbour at the time, launched a rubber-duck, after witnessing the man being swept off the harbour wall, and they managed to recover the man from the sea," he said in a statement.

On arrival paramedics tried to resuscitate the man who did not have a pulse and wasn’t breathing. He was later declared dead.

Police would open an inquest docket into the death.

The man was believed to be a local resident aged in his late 30's, but the reason he was on the harbour wall was still unclear.

"The NSRI are appealing to locals and tourists to exercise extreme caution around the coast during winter months. The South African coastline is notorious for big sea swells during winter storms," he said.

  • Deon - 2011-06-25 12:54

    The weather is not bad here today, actually quite pleasant. But the sea is still ver rough and the New Harbour Wall will not be a good place to hang out today. Come to think about it, the Old Harbour will be more dangerous. Poor man, condolences.

  • BigMoose - 2011-06-25 13:18

    Big surf in Cape Town yesterday. Waves were breaking over Kalk Bay harbour wall as well.

  • coconuts - 2011-06-25 14:23

    Why an inquest? Unless someone saw him being pushed off it is a waste of tax payers money. Suicide or accident surely?

  • erami - 2011-06-25 14:32

    We were busy to checking the tie up ropes on our boat when guy came walking past us, toward the dive school, 5 minutes later we saw him on the wall, just then a wave came over the wall and swept him off his feet, and he landed on his back, the next wave washed him off the wall into the harbor, we ran to help, Shaun from Whale Cruises was standing with us, and he called 3 of his crew to take his small boat, already in the water, no rubber duck was launched. A couple of students from the Dive School came running outside, they were busy writing exam and saw the man being washed into the water. We were on the smaller wall and called for the man to swim towards one of the bigger boats moored in the harbor, but he struggled because of all the white water. Shaun's crew arrived at the spot in less than 3 minutes and found only the man's jacket floating, he then came back up and they pulled him into the boat. The Students of the Dive School was trying to resuscitate him for 30 minutes before the paramedics arrived. I am sorry he did not make it.

      THE.SRG - 2011-06-25 17:18

      maybe you should write the article next time since we got more facts from you....thanx and my condolences to his family.

      Wesley Fester - 2011-06-25 17:55

      Hi Erami, the man you are reffering to, was Gerard Waterwitch from Cape Town, working in Hermanus as an anti poaching inspector. He went for a walk before his shift started when the tragedy happened.A salute to all you guys who risked your own lives to save another. MY deepest sympathy to his wife Althea, children and rest of family.

      melanie.snayer - 2011-06-30 22:52

      Dear Erami Gerard Waterwich was my uncle. The family wants you to know that they can find closure now because of your post. We are saddened by the details but are grateful to know them. We do not question the decision of the Almighty and still trust in His goodness and love. Please extend our thanks to your friends, also to Shaun and his 3 crew members who took my uncle from the water. We commend you all, as well as the students of the diving school who tried to resuscitate him, for your presence of mind, selflesness and bravery. We also appreciate your expression of sympathy. Be blessed. Sincerely, Melanie Snayer

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