Good Samaritans save man from drowning in St Francis Bay

The NSRI commended the two men for their bravery. Photo: Henk Kruger/Independent Newspapers

The NSRI commended the two men for their bravery. Photo: Henk Kruger/Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 4, 2024


A man from St Francis Bay in the Eastern Cape is lucky to be alive after he was saved from drowning by good Samaritans on Monday.

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said the local man, in his 40s, was washed off the harbour wall into the Port of St Francis.

“At 1.28pm on Monday, June 3, NSRI Francis Bay duty crew were activated following reports of a man washed off the harbour wall by waves at the Port of St Francis at the peak of high tide. The local man, aged in his 40's, had been swept off the harbour wall into the harbour when local fishermen, preparing their chokka fishing boat for the chokka season, saw the man's peril and they leapt into action,” NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon said.

One of the fishermen, Buchanan Breytenbach, initially went to get a nearby life ring but then noticed the man slipping under water and he immediately shouted to his shore skipper, Shorts Richardson to grab the life ring.

Breytenbach abandoned his jersey and gum boots and leapt into the water where he reached the man and pulled him up from under the water and then managed to prevent him from going under again.

Breytenbach told the NSRI he was able to get his arm under the shoulder of the man, and Richardson threw a rope towards them.

“All the time, Shorts was shouting instructions to aid me in the rescue which helped,” Breytenbach said.

He said he grabbed the rope and instructed the man to also take hold of the rope, while Richardson pulled them towards a gap on the side of their chokka boat. At the side of the boat, Richardson helped them onto the boat for safety.

NSRI St Francis Bay station commander, Sara Smith was first on the scene and found the pair had already got the man out of the water.

“The man was treated for non-fatal drowning symptoms and hypothermia, and after being further checked by paramedics, he declined being transported to hospital. NSRI commend Good Samaritan Buchanan Breytenbach for his actions that saved the man's life.

“We also commend Good Samaritan Shorts Richardson for his assistance that contributed to the man's life being saved. The swift response of NSRI and Relay ambulance services is commended,” Lambinon said.