Rieghard Janse van Rensburg, NSRI Jeffreys Bay station commander, said:
At 10h45, Saturday, 24th December, we were alerted following reports that a paddler may be missing during a paddle between St Francis Bay and Jeffreys Bay.
Family reportedly had visuals on one of the two paddlers but the second paddler was nowhere to be seen and they raised the alarm.
We dispatched our sea rescue Quad bike, the sea rescue craft Eddie Beaumont II and Project Rescuer. One of our sea rescue crew, a pilot, borrowed an aircraft to join in the search.
We found the one paddler on the beach near to Albatros, a 40 year old local man, but his friend, a 53 year old man from Kommetjie, Cape Town, who now lives in Hawaii, was missing and although we had cellphone contact with the man, in very strong off-shore gale force winds, it was difficult to pinpoint his position.
At approximately 12h30 we found the man on the Port Elizabeth side at the Gamtoos River Mouth where he had beached, 3 kilometers away from the original search area and he was suffering exhaustion and hypothermia.
While medical treatment commenced he was taken onboard our sea rescue craft and brought to the Jeffreys Bay side of the Gamtoos River Mouth where with the assistance of the Papiesfontein Horse Riding outfit, allowing us access and guiding us, we were able to reach the area by vehicle and we transported him in our sea rescue vehicle to a waiting EC Government Health EMS ambulance and he was transported to hospital in the care of EMS paramedics and in a stable condition suffering from exhaustion and hypothermia.
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