What started out as a sailing trip of a lifetime, ended in tragedy. A British researcher and eco-activist, Sara King, her boyfriend James Elsworth, their friend James Baker and a rescue dog named Dax, departed from Simon’s Town harbour with the intention of sailing to Fiji last month.
The aim of the expedition was to conduct scientific research on marine litter.
According to IOL, the team were sailing on a 48-foot catamaran named ‘Danzig’.
After leaving from Simon’s Town harbour, the group made their way to East London where they experienced some delays and spent time docked in the port.
Once all admin and hiccups were taken care of in East London, the group left the city’s port on June 28 for Madagascar. They were excited to get back on the open waters. Stormy weather was predicted along the next leg of the expedition.
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Documenting the story on Facebook through her business Evolve Abroad, King said in a statement, “Off we go to Madagascar! Our crew sets sail on our Research Vessel today from South Africa to South-West Madagascar where we start our next part of our scientific research on microplastics with Dr Nel from the University of Birmingham.”
While en route to Madagascar, the expedition took a turn for the worse. The crew and Danzig were hit by a severe storm. The catamaran took on water and eventually capsized. A nearby container ship was able to help the crew from the vessel.
King was unconscious by the time the container ship’s lifeboat reached Danzig. She was rushed to the on-board medical facility where medics performed CPR. Sadly, only Jason, James and Dax survived.
An emergency services source who helped transfer Baker, Elsworth, Dax and King’s body from the container ship to Durban, told IOL that King had drowned before the ship’s lifeboat reached Danzig.
The crew members aboard Danzig had attempted to turn back to land when initially confronted with the storm but to no avail.