An appeal by the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) for the public to take ownership of its Pink Rescue Flotation Buoy campaign was taken a bit too literally in Jeffreys Bay last week when a brazen group of youths, thought to be from Port Elizabeth, made off with one of the pieces of lifesaving equipment.
The NSRI has now made another public appeal, this time for assistance in tracking down the three young men believed to have been responsible for removing the equipment.
It had been positioned at one of Jeffreys Bay’s popular surfing beaches, the Point. The buoys are used for rescues and then returned to their poles on the beach.
The organisation yesterday released footage showing the three youths, who were caught red-handed by a CCTV camera in the parking lot at that beach.
The NSRI has also made an appeal for assistance in identifying the three, coupled with a request to the youths to return the buoy themselves.
The footage, dated December 27 and time-stamped 5.08am, shows a man in a white shirt and blue jeans, with the pink buoy in hand, running ahead of two others towards a red car in the parking lot.
Another man from the group is seen carrying the buoy’s mounting pole and backing board to the car.
He then puts them across the back seat, the pole protruding from both rear passenger windows.
The man with the buoy is seen getting into the front passenger seat of the car, which has an Eastern Cape registration, before the car drives off.
NSRI national spokesman Craig Lambinon said bystanders had reported that they had confronted the group in a heated exchange.
Although they were advised to return the buoy, they still loaded it into the hatchback and drove off.
Lambinon said the footage had been posted on the organisation’s website www.nsri.org.za and its Facebook page.
“NSRI appeals to those who appear to have taken the buoy to return it to the NSRI or return it to its pole on the beach at Jeffreys Bay.
“If anyone recognises the persons in the CCTV footage please contact NSRI.”
Lambinon said one of the buoys had already contributed to saving the life of a teenager in the Wilderness area.
Jeffreys Bay NSRI station commander Rieghard Janse van Rensburg said early investigations pointed to the thieves being from Port Elizabeth.