Three fishermen found themselves in difficulty when their open fishing vessel’s motor died between Smitswinkle Bay and Pringle Bay yesterday morning. The fishermen raised the alarm via cellphone contact, and all communication was lost soon afterwards.
“A colleague of the three fishermen and the owner of a White and Blue rigid inflatable boat in the Strand informed NSRI that earlier, at 12am on Tuesday, two local men had launched his boat at Harbour Island, Gordons Bay, to go to the aid of the three fishermen who were adrift in False Bay. They have not returned,” the National Sea Rescue Insititute (NSRI) said.
“Our NSRI Simonstown sea rescue craft Spirit of Safmarine III and Spirit of Surfski II were launched to begin a search and our sea rescue vehicle responded to a height above Simonstown to look-out, our NSRI coastwatchers were activated to keep a look-out and TNPA activated NSRI Kommetjie who dispatched their sea rescue vehicle to Cape Point to assist with communications and shoreline patrols.”
NSRI Gordons Bay, NSRI Strandfontein, NSRI Kleinmond, and NSRI Hout Bay have been activated to help with the search efforts.
“NSRI Hout Bay dispatched the sea rescue craft Nadine Gordimer and NSRI Gordons Bay dispatched the sea rescue craft Jack & Irene. NSRI Strandfontein, NSRI Gordons Bay and NSRI Kleinmond dispatched their sea rescue vehicles to cover a shoreline search,” the institute said.
A cold front created strong winds and heavy sea conditions which had an adverse effect on search efforts. MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) assisted NSRI commanders plotting and coordinating search patterns and the SA Air Force and NSRI ASR (Airborne Sea Rescue) were placed on alert.
“Telkom Maritime Radio Services broadcast and all ships alert for vessels in the False Bay area and beyond False Bay to keep a look out for the boat adrift with three fishermen on the one boat and for the White and Blue 5.5 meter RIB with two fishermen on the second boat,” the NSRI said.
Ships at sea in the False Bay area kept a look-out, and two fishing vessels assisted in a search while the SA Navy submarine SAS MANTHATISI conducted a surface water search between Cape Point and Simonstown.
After the search had been called off for the evening on Tuesday, the SA Air Force joined search efforts on Wednesday.
“During an extensive ongoing search and rescue operation eye-witnesses, on Wednesday afternoon, in Sandbaai, between Onrus and Hermanus, reported a boat appearing to be adrift and approaching the backline breaking waves and looking like the boat would run aground at Sandbaai,” the organisation said.
The three fishermen were located when it was found that their boat had capsized in Sandbaai. EMS paramedics conducted extensive CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) efforts on one of the fisherman, but sadly after all efforts to resuscitate the man were exhausted and he was declared deceased by paramedics.
“Condolences are conveyed to family and friends of the deceased man,” the NSRI said. “The two survivors were medically treated by paramedics on the scene for hypothermia and they have been transported to hospital by ambulance in serious but stable conditions and they are expected to make full recoveries.”