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Fisherman airlifted after falling down cliff

On Wednesday, 30 May 2018, at approximately 4h30pm, NSRI Plettenberg Bay duty crew were alerted by WSAR (Wilderness Search and Rescue) following reports of a 41 year old local angler injured from a fall while fishing along the coastline on the Otter Trail, half way between Natures Valley and the Storms River Mouth.

SA National Parks (SAN Parks) rangers were en route hiking to the barely accessible area and WSAR, NSRI, MCSA (Mountain Club of South Africa) Garden Route Division, WC Government Health EMS Rescue and ER24 ambulance services were placed on alert.

SANParks rangers confirmed that the best access was from the ocean side and that the patient was seriously injured following a fall from rocks into shallow sea surf below the rocks.

NSRI Plettenberg Bay duty crew then proceeded to launch the sea rescue craft Leonard Smith and Free Runner, accompanied by an ER24 rescue paramedic and members of MCSA Garden Route Division.

With nightfall already descended and no moonlight, in rough sea conditions, along the barely accessible rocks, 2 NSRI rescue swimmers, Bruce Noble and Wayne Craig, were taken towards the shore onboard the rescue craft Free Runner. The men were deployed into the surf and they swam ashore.

Illuminating flares were used to assist to light up the scene to guide them swimming ashore along the jagged cliff shoreline. The two brave men negotiated rough seas and stormy waters to reach the shoreline.

On reaching the patient they found him to be in a serious condition with a compound fractured Tibula and Fibula. The casualty also suffered from injuries to his arm and head.

The rescue swimmers were able to provide emergency medical care to the patient who was stabilised. It was determined that in the rough seas a patient transfer to a sea rescue craft using a floating stretcher was not feasible due to the extent of the injuries to the patient. WC Government Health EMS rescue squad and WSAR members were summoned and proceeded to hike to the location from the land side.

On the arrival of Metro EMS Rescue and WSAR, paramedics took over medical care of the patient while the two NSRI rescue swimmers hiked out of the location accompanied by SANPark rangers.

The NSRI rescue craft then stood down and returned to base.

The EMS rescue squad and the WSAR members set up camp and stayed with the patient during the night, continuing with medical care throughout the night, and on Thursday morning, 31 May 2018, the EMS/AMS Skymed rescue helicopter airlifted the patient in a serious but stable condition.


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