Thursday, 18 October 2012

SEA RESCUE – PORT ALFRED – Thursday, 18th October, 2012. Assistance during flooding

Juan Pretorius, NSRI Port Alfred station commander, said:

Heavy rain has fallen over night particularly causing flooding of rivers in the Ndlambe area.

At 02h00 (Thursday, 18th October) NSRI Port Alfred volunteer sea rescue duty crew were activated following reports of people trapped by flood water at Meadowlina Caravan Park, Port Alfred.

Municipal workers were found to be cutting up a tree that had fallen across a road, Traffic Services were assisting to divert traffic through flooded streets and Multi-Security, a local response security firm, were assisting.

Our NSRI volunteer sea rescue duty crew responded by road, negotiating flooded streets and debris on roads, to find a husband and wife and their cat, all originally from Johannesburg, trapped in their caravan by flood waters surrounding their caravan.

The wife was carried out secured into a stokes basket stretcher by our NSRI volunteers, the cat was carried out and the husband helped through the chest deep water that surrounded their caravan. They were released, not injured, and all were safely taken to residence on higher ground.

We then responded to nearby Shielan House, a guest lodge, where the owners, a husband and wife, their two dogs and a lodger from Cape Town were trapped in their residence by flood waters. A river of water was found to be raging through their house and their vehicle had been washed away.

While approaching the house across the flooded garden no sense could be made of the terrain and one of our NSRI volunteers unknowingly, while walking across the yard, walked into the swimming pool and he briefly disappeared but very soon managed to get himself out of the pool. We were already so wet from the heavy rains that this dip in the pool made no difference to the volunteer and we continued with our task of helping residents.

At the guest lodge we brought everyone and the dogs to safety and to residence on higher ground. Their vehicle was also brought to safety.

Then the owners of the Meadowlina Caravan Park themselves requested assistance after their residence caused their vehicle and house to be swamped. NSRI towed their vehicle out of flood waters and the husband and wife, their cat and a friend were assisted to residence on higher ground.

At 06h45, we were activated to assist at the harbour where the Marina Dredger had come loose from anchor and secured only by one line, and already adrift in the flooded river mouth, was at risk of being swept out to sea and lost if the one line had failed, our NSRI volunteers, assisted by The Marina Dredging staff, secured lines to the dredger and using only manpower pulled her out of the critical flow of flood water and into an Eddy where it was secured and taken out of harms way.

Then between 6 and 7 whole jetties were found to be floating down the Kowie River causing damage to other jetties, boats and walkways, and we launched our sea rescue craft Kowie Rescuer and sailed up river securing jetties to the bank in an effort to prevent them suffering the same fate and causing more damage.

Numerous boaters and boat owners, residents along the river bank have been assisted and advised by our NSRI volunteers in efforts to secure properties and assets and the situation continues to be monitored.


Released by:

Craig Lambinon
Sea Rescue Communications

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