WITSAND – Friday, 21 October, 2011: Yacht GULLIVER’S life-raft found.
Pictures for media use can be found on the Sea Rescue Flickr site. Please credit NSRI.
Attie Gunter, NSRI Witsand station commander, said:
“At around 5 a.m. This morning (21 October, 2011) local commercial fisherman Eugene Beukers and his crew, while going to sea to fish, found two white floatation buoys about 1 kilometer off ‘The Bar’ (the sand bar), at Witsand. On closer inspection, they found a life-raft submerged beneath the surface, and they immediately called NSRI Witsand for assistance.
“At 05h40 NSRI Witsand volunteers launched our sea rescue craft QUEENIE PAINE and on arrival on-scene, we found the life-raft belonging to the yacht GULLIVER.
We towed the life-raft ashore and she is in safe keeping at our sea rescue base. SAMSA (The South African Maritime Safety Authority) are en route to inspect the life raft and we are trying to contact the skipper, Greg West, to let him know of the remarkable find.
“GULLIVER capsized on the 15th of June 2011. All 4 crew (Greg West, Frans Strung, Mike Morck and Shaun Kennedy) were rescued out of the life-raft by NSRI Witsand, 12 nautical miles off Witsand, the crew had tethered the life-raft to the capsized yacht with a long rope. The yacht itself was found at midday, on 8th of July, washed ashore and quite badly broken up on a farm at Eerste Rivier, near Oyster Bay.
“Now finally, in what may well be the last chapter of the incident, her life-raft has been found some 20 kilometers closer to shore from where her crew were rescued 4 months and 5 days ago. The EPIRB (the emergency transmitter device) was found intact inside the life-raft but the aerial of the EPIRB had untangled and had taken some obvious battering from the oceans elements. The EPIRB had stopped transmitting a few days after the rescue which had prevented the owner from finding his yacht to try to salvage her.
“We can only imagine the story the life-raft would have to tell floating around our coast semi-submerged for over 4 months!”
Pictures can be found on the Sea Rescue Flickr site.