St Lucia – 19 April, 2011: Fishing boat capsizes with 8 fishermen on board and horseman concussed following fall from his horse:
At 08h43 NSRI Richards Bay volunteers were called out following reports of a commercial fishing boat capsized, with 8 fishermen on board, at St Lucia on the Kwa-Zulu Natal North Coast.
KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife rangers, who reached the scene shortly after the boat capsized, said that 1 person is missing and 1 person drowned, 2 people were not injured and 4 injured fishermen had been taken off the beach by locals and a local tour company whose members are trained in advanced first aid.
The skipper had both hands fractured, a fractured leg and suspected fractured ribs, and the three crewman had bruises, suspected fractures and one complained of back pain.
All 4 injured fishermen were stabilized on-scene at the beach parking area by Netcare 911 paramedics and transported to a hospital in Richards Bay in Netcare 911 ambulances in stable conditions.
NSRI Richards Bay volunteers responded to the scene in our rescue 4×4 vehicle, and a Transnet National Ports Authority rescue helicopter, accompanied by an NSRI rescue swimmer, responded from Richards Bay.
The SA Police Services and the St Lucia Traffic Services also responded to the scene.
While on the way to the scene reports were received of a rider who had fallen from his horse. The local tour operators and KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife rangers were sent to that incident at the St Lucia Estuary.
They found the horse rider concussed and semi conscious.
He was was treated by Berno Phillipson, of Advantage Tours, for concussion before being handed into the care of a Cassevac ambulance.
He has been transported to a Richards Bay hospital.
Our NSRI volunteers began assisting the Police, the Traffic Department, Wildlife rangers and a large group of the local community with a shore search for the missing man. An extensive air search was conducted by the Ports Authority rescue helicopter for the missing fisherman.
Sea conditions of 3 to 4 metre breaking surf and a light South Easterly wind are prevailing in the area and no sign of the missing fisherman has been found.
According to Berno Phillipson, of Advantage Tours, the fishing boat, an 8.3 meter Butt-Cat, was launching to go to sea and was nearing the back breaker-line when she was hit by a wave head on breaking off the front console of the boat, which is believed to have caused the extensive injuries to the crew. A second wave then hit the boat sending all 8 fishermen into the surf before it capsized.
The capsized boat washed ashore onto the beach and has subsequently been removed.
The skipper of the boat is from St Lucia and the 7 crewman, including the deceased man and the missing man, are from Dukuduku.
Police and locals are continuing an ongoing search for the missing fisherman and Police have opened an inquest docket into the incident.