At 12h49 on Saturday, 27th November Port Alfred volunteers responded to 6 nautical miles West of Port Alfred following a request for assistance from the 16 foot boat, Mokorran, with 2 men onboard.
Gerhard von Hasslen, 74, from Grahamstown and Peter Bassett, 60, from Port Alfred, said they were lost in thick fog.
They had been fishing off Kasuga, 10 nautical miles from Port Alfred, but having motored for some time in the direction of Port Alfred they became completely disorientated in thick fog.
Juan Pretorius, Port Alfred station commander, said: “We launched Kowie Rescuer but an extensive search revealed no sign of the men at the position we expected them to be. They were asked to put down their anchor and wait for our rescue boat.
“We had taken into account their last known position and their speed, direction and the time lapsed before we requested them to put down their anchor. And so we were puzzled that we couldn’t find them where we thought they should be, until they told us that they had seen land through the fog and had gone in that direction. They were then again engulfed by thick fog and again lost their way.
“All we had was cell-phone contact with the men and they had no GPS onboard.
“We were unable to find the men and we had to return to base to refuel and to re-evaluate the search grid.
“By 17h30 with light fading and with their concerned families at our rescue base growing increasingly anxious we eventually found them 8 nautical miles from Port Alfred.
“They were both overcome by emotion on being found, and we escorted them back to Port Alfred where they were reunited with their overjoyed families.
“Had the men obeyed our initial instructions and waited for our rescue boat at our first request for them to put out their anchor we would have found them much faster.”
Knysna also had a search for a boat lost in fog: At 15h00 on Saturday, 27th November, Station 12, Knysna, launched Colourpress Rescuer to assist 5 men on their fishing craft who had become lost in thick fog.
Graeme Harding, NSRI Knysna station commander, said that the men had their GPS coordinates and were found quite quickly, about a nautical mile off the Knysna Heads, and guided through the Heads.
At 13h08 Sunday, 28th November, East London volunteers, a helicopter, Metro EMS and the SA Police Service were called out following an eye-witness report of 3 people being swept out to sea at Coffee Bay.
It seems that two women, aged approximately 17 and 18 and a boy of about 12, were rescued by an unidentified surfer and a swimmer.
According to the eye-witness the surfer rescued the two teenage girls and the swimmer rescued the 12 year old.
Bystanders then treated the three on the scene for near drowning symptoms before they were taken to a local clinic for further treatment in a private car.
Responding sea rescue resources stood down and returned to base after it was confirmed that all were accounted for.
The eye-witness, Kyla Roux, from Bez Valley, Johannesburg, on holiday in Coffee Bay, is commended for her efforts to initiate an emergency response to this incident.
At 13h36 on Sunday, 28th November Witsand volunteers responded to a motor-bike accident 25 kilometres from Witsand.
Metro EMS and Police were also activated and on arrival NSRI volunteer medics stabilized a man, from Cape Town, who was found unconscious after reportedly losing control of his motor bike on the sand road.
A Metro EMS ambulance has transported the man to hospital in a stable but serious condition.
At 15h12 on Sunday Wilderness volunteers launched their rescue craft Spirit of Rotary 100, Serendepity and their Discovery Rescue Runner to assist Metro EMS in a search along the rocks at Victoria Bay for a person suspected to be trapped on the shoreline cliffs.
A Metro Rescue Red Cross AMS helicopter joined in the search but despite an extensive search, no sign of anyone could be found. It is suspected that an earlier call for a woman in the same area, may have been the cause of the call out but the search was continued to rule out any possibility of any second incident.
At 10h00 on Friday, 26th November St Francis Bay volunteers were called out following a request for medical assistance from the chokka fishing boat Vukani. A crewman aboard the vessel was suffering from dehydration and requiring a medical evacuation.
The sea rescue craft Spirit of St Francis II launched to rendezvous with the casualty vessel off Oyster Bay.
According to NSRI’s Garth Shamley the 30 year old fisherman, Ngwae Tallman, was taken to St Francis Bay harbour by the rescue boat where we were met by a Private Care ambulance. The patient was transported to hospital in a stable condition.
Later the same day a replacement crewman was transported to Vukani the sea rescue craft Spirit of St Francis II.
At 07h33 on Sunday, 28th November Port Alfred were called out following reports of a the 8 metre super duck Aqua capsized in the surf at East Beach.
The rescue boat Arthur Scales was launched and a 4×4 rescue vehicle responded to the scene.
when we arrived we found Aqua safely beached and all 3 crew were safe ashore.
Aqua was being used for skipper training and capsized in the 2 metre surf and the super duck washed up on the beach.
Alexander van Wyk, 32, was busy with skipper training, accompanied by skipper trainer Koos Smith, 28, and Pieter Loodts, 42, aboard Aqua, when the boat capsized in the surf.
At 08h08 Gordon’s Bay and Simonstown volunteers were called out following an eye-witness report of red distress flares fired from a boat with three men onboard, 1 nautical mile off Hangklip.
Gordon’s Bay launched Douglas Murray and dispatched a sea rescue 4×4 rescue vehicle, Simonstown launched their rescue craft Spirit of Safmarine III and the Metro Rescue Red Cross AMS helicopter responded.
The Metro Rescue Red Cross AMS helicopter located the capsized rubber-duck approximately half a nautical mile off-shore of Hangklip and it was determined that an unidentified private rubber-duck, that was in the area at the time, which had seen the red distress flares, had picked up all 3 survivors and was bringing them to shore at the Hangklip slipway.
They required no medical assistance and the Metro Rescue Red Cross AMS helicopter and the sea rescue craft were stood down to return to base.
Johan Rosenstrauch, NSRI Gordon’s Bay deputy station commander, said: “On our arrival on-scene in our rescue vehicle we found all three men Vernon Slabber, Timothy Bullen and Graham Allesandri, safe ashore and only Vernon Slabber required some medical attention for some minor lacerations to his hand.
“Their boat had been capsized by a wave in choppy 1.5 metre swells .
The eye-witness who called sea rescue to report the flare sightings, Curtis van Biljon, from Kyalami, Johannesburg, is commended for providing sea rescue an efficient account of events as they unfolded.
Curtis said he first noticed the red distress flares about 1 nautical mile off-shore and using a camera long lens noticed the upturned hull of a capsized rubber-duck. He called sea rescue.
Curtis kept the responding rescue resources abreast of the situation with information on the capsized rubber-duck drifting closer towards shore and when the Metro Rescue Red Cross AMS helicopter arrived on-scene 25 minutes after the initial emergency phone call, the three men had just been picked up by a rubber-duck and were being brought towards the Hangklip slip-way.