DURING the early evening of Saturday September 26, duty crew members of NSRI Plett were among those who responded to assist the police at Storms River Mouth after nine paddlers - two river guides and seven guests - had been reported overdue after setting off downriver on rafts.
Explained NSRI Oyster Bay station commander Lodewyk van Rensburg: “On arrival on the scene, eight of the nine paddlers had arrived at the rendezvous location. They described how one of the two river guides had fallen into the water further upriver.
“He was reportedly recovered by the group who performed bystander CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) efforts for an extended period of time, but sadly the guide could not be revived.”
An operation to recover the body of the man, identified as 31-year-old Bramwell Damons from Storms River Village, was arranged and took place from first light on Sunday morning.
“Our duty crew assisted the SAPS, a police dive unit, SANParks rangers and Eastern Cape Government Health Forensic Pathology Services (GHFPS) to recover the body, which was then taken into the care of GHFPS. The police has opened an inquest docket,” said Van Rensburg.
The NSRI conveyed its condolences to the Damons family, and SANParks spokesman for this section of Garden Route National Park, Nandi Mgwadlamba, said: “We are saddened by the incident. It is heart-breaking to lose a guide who worked for one of our top concessionaires in the park.”