Coast KZN

15 May 2021

Struggling swimmers rescued by fishing boat at Salmon Bay, Ballito

James Anderson (North Coast Courier) Picture: Phillip de Robillard rescued 5 people caught in a riptide earlier today.

A Ballito fisherman rescued 5 struggling swimmers from a riptide at Salmon Bay this afternoon.

At around 2pm Phillip de Robillard (25) was out at sea when he heard calls of distress coming from Salmon Bay. Salmon Bay is a boat launch site and is not a designated swimming beach.

“I was on my way back in when we saw people gathered on the beach near the Ballito Skiboat Club,” he said.

After looking around, he saw 5 people near the rocks in front of The Galley restaurant having clear difficulty in the surf.

“They were caught in a riptide and had got into a tricky situation. I have been caught in that rip myself and if it catches you it can be dangerous.”

Phillip was able to get close to them but it was still not possible to load them onto Phezulu, his boat.

“We could not go and fetch them because it was too close to the rocks. We told them to swim a bit deeper and then were able to get them onboard.”

The initial group of swimmers comprised 2 adults and a teenager, later joined by 2 more adults who had swam in to try and rescue them. The group were shaken but all still able to lift themselves onto the boat, he said. Once back on dry land, they were attended to by paramedics.

Much earlier, at around 5 am, two fishermen were fishing off of High Rock in Chaka’s Rock when one of the men was washed into the surf below while trying to gather a fish that he had hooked.

“It was too early for the lifeguards to be out, so it was up to the other fisherman to help him,” said KwaDukuza municipality lifeguard supervisor, Bongani Xulu.

The man jumped in to save his friend and was able to get them both back to shore with minor injuries.

“The man who fell had a few small injuries from hitting the rocks on the way down but was otherwise uninjured. “He was in no serious danger of drowning and was quickly out of the water.”

The man was attended to by paramedics who later arrived on scene.