Justin Erasmus, NSRI Port Elizabeth deputy station commander, said:
At 09h48, Thursday, 20th July, NSRI Port Elizabeth duty crew were activated following an activation of the Nelson Mandela Bay Water Emergency Rescue Committee (NMB-WERC) reporting of 3 persons being swept out to sea at Hobie Beach, Summerstrand.
NSRI Port Elizabeth launched the sea rescue craft Spirit of Surf-ski IV and NSRI rescue swimmers, Coastal Water Rescue rescue swimmers, EC Government Health EMS and the EMS rescue helicopter AM3, the SA Police Services, the Nelson Mandela Bay Beach Office members, Nelson Mandela Bay Fire and Rescue Services responded.
On arrival on the scene it was found that a group of College students, from Lusikisiki, Transkei, on an educational camp, while at the beach, 3 students (believed to all be students) had been swept out to sea while swimming.
We believe that a local man, a pensioner, who has not been identified, after seeing the 3 get into difficulty he had launched into the surf and he was able to rescue 2 of the casualties and bring them safely to the shore, both the rescued men are 26 years of age.
The pensioner then went back into the surf to try to rescued the 3rd student, a 28 year old man, but the student was missing and he is believed to have disappeared under water.
NSRI, Coastal Water Rescue, the AM3 helicopter and the joint emergency services on the scene commenced an extensive shoreline, sea and air search for the missing man but no sign of the man has been found and resources are continuing an ongoing search operation and the Police Dive Unit will join in an ongoing search operation.
One rescued 26 year old student was released on the scene following medical treatment by EMS paramedics and one rescued 26 year old student has been transported to hospital by EMS ambulance suffering non-fatal drowning symptoms and he will be observed for secondary drowning symptoms and receive medical treatment in hospital and he is expected to fully recover.
Police are investigating the incident.
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