At 03h52 on Thursday the 27th February, NSRI Gordons Bay volunteer sea rescue duty crew were activated following reports of what was believed to be a fishing vessel in the vicinity between Bettys Bay and Kleinmond.
The vessel had sent a Mayday distress call intercepted by Telkom Maritime Radio Services who informed the Transnet National Ports Authority, who in turn activated NSRI Gordons Bay.
NSRI Gordons Bay volunteer sea rescue duty crew responded to Bettys Bay and launched their sea rescue craft from the Bettys Bay slip way to begin a search, while ground crews were deployed to search along the shoreline.
Initial reports suggested that all 8 crew members were abandoning ship into a life-raft. It was later reported that 2 crew members remained onboard, 5 crew members were on the shore and 1 person was missing.
WC Government Health EMS placed the Skymed rescue helicopter on alert to join a search from first light.
WC Government Health EMS, Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services, SA Police Services, a Police Dive Unit and Gordons Bay Security ambulance responded to assist.
On arrival on-scene NSRI Gordons Bay found 7 people safely ashore and not injured. They were checked by paramedics and found to be in satisfactory conditions and were transported to NSRI Gordons Bay rescue base where Police trauma counsellors attended to them.
All 7 survivors are adult males from Cape Town.
During a search the Skymed rescue helicopter located the body of the missing man washed into a rock pool. He has been recovered, confirmed to be deceased by unknown causes, and handed into the care of Police and the Forensic Pathology Services.
The vessel, a 19,63 meter commercial fishing vessel from Hout Bay, also reportedly conducting Octopus research, CONNECT, was found washed up against rocks.
An oil spill is being assessed for environmental control by SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority). Disaster Risk Management and Cape Nature are assisting SAMSA with the spill reportedly in the vicinity of a Penguin Colony.
Police have opened an inquest docket.
The deceased man, aged 43, is believed to be from Strandfontein.
The recovery of the vessel, which is washed against rocks, is being assessed by the owners in conjunction with SAMSA.
It is believed that the vessel hit rocks after midnight in the vicinity of Voelklip, Bettys Bay. The crew were reportedly able to escape the vessel by jumping onto rocks. Information from the crew suggests that 5 jumped to safety first and 3 crew stayed onboard. The three that stayed onboard later jumped to safety but one of the men may have injured his head on rocks and was reportedly lost into the sea before being spotted and recovered; deceased by the Skymed rescue helicopter.
The owners of the boat are attempting to get hold of the deceased mans family. The name of the deceased man has not been released.
It is not known what caused the vessel to run onto rocks and an investigation will be launched by SAMSA.