GEORGE NEWS - A young woman (19) visiting George from Somerset-West has a local family, her friends and members of the NSRI Wilderness to thank for saving her life on Sunday afternoon, 17 January.
“My wife, Henrietha, son, Friedrich, and I were hiking the Kingfisher trail in Wilderness on Sunday afternoon when we encountered a group of youngsters trying to assist a young lady suffering from a severe asthma attack,” George resident Christo Engels told George Herald on Monday morning.
“She was already unconscious and in a serious condition.”
Not having any medical equipment or supplies, and with no cellphone reception, Engels had to think on his feet.
“I decided to run for help and to fetch my small boat to get the girl to an area more accessible to an ambulance. My wife and son tried to keep the girl as comfortable as possible and all of them assisted in carrying her back towards the river crossing where I could pick her up with the boat,” he said.
Fortunately for the young victim, NSRI Wilderness deputy station commander Mike Vonk was also hiking the same trail.
“I ran into Mike Vonk and his family on my way to find help for the girl. While I went to fetch my boat he [Mike] managed to get hold of his team at Wilderness NSRI,” Engels said.
With the assistance of some campers at the Ebb & Flow rest camp in the Wilderness National Park, Engels launched his boat.
“Everyone met at the river crossing where NSRI medics could supply oxygen and a stretcher to get the girl to an ambulance and to hospital.”
According to Vonk the NSRI crew members launched their sea rescue jet-rib on the river to transport the girl in a stretcher to safety, while Eden911 ambulance services along with Metro ambulance services were also activated.
“She was stabilised by NSRI medics. They were joined by paramedics who assisted with medical treatment and she was secured into a stokes basket stretcher and transported downriver on our sea rescue craft,” he said.
The victim was taken to hospital by Eden911 for further medical treatment and has been discharged since.
“It was amazing to see how everybody worked together to help this girl. My wife is a retired dentist and I knew she would be able to do everything possible for the girl under the circumstances, and my son, even though he is only 13, also did his bit. The girl’s friends all kept going and carried her to where she could get help.
"The real heroes here are however Mike Vonk and the NSRI team. These guys are just amazing at how they are willing to go to any length to assist someone in trouble,” commended Engels.
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