At 15h45, Saturday, 07th March, NSRI Knysna launched the sea rescue craft JAYTEE III and SPIRIT OF KYC following reports of a dinghy, with three men on-board, capsized on Knysna Estuary between the Thesen Island Jetty and the Railway Bridge.
On arrival on-scene all 3 local men were found safe on a mud bank. 2 of the men were suffering near drowning symptoms with breathing difficulties and treated by NSRI medics and then transported to hospital in stable conditions by WC Government Health EMS ambulance for observation for secondary drowning. The third man required no medical assistance.
It appears that the small dinghy that the three men were on capsized and one man managed to hang onto the capsized dinghy but the other two men were drowning when a lagoon cabin boat with a Cape Town family on-board came to their aid.
Daniel Aufrichtig, from Big Bay, Bloubergstrand, explained to NSRI that he and his family, his wife, his two children, a boy and a girl, and their two dogs, who often holiday in Knysna, were on the Estuary in their cabin boat and saw the three men fishing from the small fishing tub (dinghy) when they noticed the dinghy capsize Daniel raised the anchor of the cabin boat to go to their aid.
Daniel said the dinghy sunk quickly and one of the three men (all aged in their 30’s) managed to grab onto the rail of the cabin boat but the other two men disappeared under water.
With Daniels wife Melanie at the helm of the cabin boat Daniel hung over the side of the cabin boat and managed to grab both men before they sunk to the bottom (they couldn’t swim) and Daniel hauled them into his boat and then assisted the third man, who was holding onto the railing of the cabin boat, to also get into the cabin boat.
Daniel raised the alarm, activating NSRI, and took the three men to shore and NSRI Knysna arrived to assist.
Daniel and his family are commended for saving the three men from certain drowning.
Press Release by NSRI