Cornel du Toit, NSRI Richards Bay station commander, said: “At 18h23 (Monday, 17th June) NSRI Richards Bay volunteer sea rescue duty crew were activated following eye-witness reports of multiple red distress flares sighted off-shore just South of the Richards Bay Port.
“We launched our sea rescue craft SPIRIT OF RICHARDS BAY and the Transnet National Ports Authority helicopter, that was in the air at the time on a routine flight, was diverted to investigate.
“On arrival on-scene it was confirmed that the suspected red distress flares were Chinese lanterns. It appears that a group of people that had been on the beach front had set off Chinese Lanterns which were mistaken by eye-witnesses to be red distress flares and all sea rescue resources stood-down to return to base.
NSRI continue to urge members of the public not to set off Chinese lanterns around the coast as they are most often mistaken for red distress flares.
Mark Samassa, NSRI Bakoven deputy station commander, said: “At 19h23 (Monday, 17th June) NSRI Bakoven volunteer sea rescue duty crew were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority following a request for assistance from the small local fishing boat SOUTHERN STAR, with 4 crew onboard, reporting to be suffering motor mechanical failure off-shore of Sea Point and adrift at sea and requiring a tow.
“We launched our sea rescue craft ROTARIAN SCHIPPER and on arrival on-scene we found the casualty boat about a nautical mile off-shore with all 4 crew safe and a tow-line was rigged and the SOUTHERN STAR was towed to the Oceana Power Boat Club where their boat was recovered and they required no further assistance.”