On Monday afternoon 2016-07-18, Matt ZS1MJJ observed a riderless motorcycle flying through the air in the vicinity of the N2 between Somerset West and Gordon’s Bay. He stopped to investigate and found the rider lying 10 meters away from the motorcycle. The rider was in the water, unconscious, and would have drowned. Matt tuned to the local 145.600 repeater and called for assistance. Paul ZS1V was mobile elsewhere in the Helderberg and responded to his call. Matt informed Paul of the location and situation. Using the local Neighbourhood Watch commercial repeater, Paul called the Somerset West Neighbourhood Watch Control room, which has links to the local security companies, paramedic services and SAPS.
The control room operator soon returned with a message indicating that an ER24 ambulance and a SAPS vehicle were en route.
The entire incident lasted less than 10 minutes, nevertheless a number of learning points can be extracted:
1. If you are making an emergency call, make it clear that you are transmitting emergency traffic by using the word “emergency” or “priority”;
2. Listen on the repeater before transmitting and if you hear someone transmitting emergency traffic, do not attempt to make another call on the repeater until the emergency is over;
3. Know the DTMF codes for changing the repeater linking, or have them handy. Paul was able to isolate the 145.600 from the linked network in order to complete the emergency call without further interference from other stations attempting calls on the linked repeater system;
Well done to Matt for his quick thinking and willingness to stop and quite likely save a life, and to the Somerset West NHW for their assistance.