NSRI team given award for rescuing kite flyer

2015-08-18 08:03
(Picture: NSRI)

(Picture: NSRI)

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Cape Town - A National Sea Rescue Institute team was given a silver gallantry award by the institute on Monday for saving a man who nearly drowned while trying to recover his kite in Camps Bay in January.

"I am immensely proud of my crew. I am overwhelmed, and it is a great honour to lead a crew who puts their lives on the line to save another person's life unquestionably," Bakoven NSRI station commander Bruce Davidson told News24.

He said Shane Keenan, 18, was flying a high performance kite when the string snapped and the kite blew into the water.

"He wasn't a local, so he was unfamiliar with the conditions. Being a young man, he chased after it, but he got tangled.

"The strings had wrapped around him and the kite had filled with water and was anchoring him."

Davidson said the unusually large ocean swells and gale force winds had resulted in the "wildest ocean conditions I've seen at that time of the year".

"To paraphrase [deputy station commander] Johnny Albert, he was seriously questioning if he should send his boat into that situation, because their lives would be in jeopardy - but he looked into the eyes of Shane and at that point said that he had to save him. He could not watch someone die in front of him."

Albert said at the time: "The sea conditions were horrendous, and realising that in the breaking surf the sea rescue craft would be in grave danger if attempts were made to try to reach the teenager, and that putting a rescue swimmer into the water would put the swimmer's life at risk."

However after fighting the waves and persisting winds, the team finally managed to get hold of the teen.

Keenan was treated for severe hypothermia, near drowning symptoms, exhaustion and shock.

Read more on:    nsri  |  cape town  |  search and rescue  |  maritime  |  good news

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