Daily Dispatch

Quick action saves life of angler


SKI-BOAT angler Paul Ristow, who fell overboard while no one was watching and lay face down and “lifeless”, was rescued by his mates and survived serious injuries.

Ristow, 41, of East London, was fishing from the 6.7m Carry Cat in the Crossways Spar Wild Coast fishing competitio­n on Saturday, 11km off Kei Mouth.

He was with East London skipper and boat owner Rory Leonard and teammates, all from East London, Ivan Van Eek, and Allen Ford.

Ristow said he lost his footing and fell, hitting his head as he went overboard, knocking himself unconsciou­s.

Speaking to the Dispatch, Ristow, 41, said he was happy to be “out of the woods”.

“It was a scary experience. Everything happened so fast. As I fell over, I hoped someone had seen me. I’m grateful for all the quick reactions that saved me.”

Leonard said he had turned around just in time to see his feet go overboard.

“I rushed to the port side but it appeared he had been swept under the boat. Seconds later he floated to the surface behind the boat, face down and still bleeding profusely from the head.”

He said they manoeuvere­d the boat back to him.

“By the time we got to him, he had miraculous­ly come to and had lifted his head. But by then he had taken in a lot of water in his lungs. We managed to get life jackets to him and pulled him back onto the boat and proceeded to try and expel the water.”

After calling for help on land, they they raced to the Kwelera launch site, where an ambulance was waiting.

He was stabilised and transporte­d to St Dominic’s hospital where he was treated for hypothermi­a and pulmonary edema (water in the lungs) as well as a head laceration. He was admitted to ICU for three days.

Leonard said he was relieved to have had a happy ending. “It was a very traumatic experience for all of us. However, the crew acted fast and we are so grateful that it ended well.”

Ristow was discharged yesterday morning from hospital, and said he was grateful to be back at work. — nonsindiso­q@dispatch.co.za

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