At 05h00 on Sunday the 11th August NSRI Hermanus volunteers were activated following reports of four men, from Hawston, near Hermanus, adrift at sea on a rubber-duck off Hangklip, between Hermanus and Gordons Bay.
Henk Henn, NSRI Hermanus station commander, said:”It appears that they had launched sometime during the night but had experienced motor failure and then their anchor dragged until they were in deep water where they began drifting further out to sea without power.
“Our NSRI Hermanus duty crew launched SOUTH STAR and HUNTERS GOLD RESCUER and a search was initiated but it soon became clear that the men, despite remaining in cellphone contact with us, had no idea how far out to sea they were or in which direction they were drifting and when no sign of them could be found by 09h00, despite an extensive search, NSRI Gordons Bay launched sea rescue craft to join us in the search.
“The WC Government Health EMS was placed on alert.
“At 11h00 the Red Cross AMS Skymed 1 rescue helicopter was activated to join in the search and the Transnet National Ports Authority placed an SA Air Force 22 Squadron Oryx helicopter on alert.
“At midday the men reported to be close to ships at sea in the shipping lanes and this helped us to narrow the search area and at 12h45 they were found and rescued off Hermanus.
“They were found 12 nautical miles off-shore (22 km) and it appears that they had drifted in a South Westerly direction approximately 14 nautical miles (26 km) across from where they first lost motor power.
The men are 32, 16, 35 and 37.
“They are exhausted but not injured and have been brought to shore aboard our sea rescue craft, they slept for most of the trip back to shore, and we reached Hermanus harbour at 15h19 where they were reunited with their concerned families and friends. Their boat was also towed to shore.
“The men were found with no life-jackets or safety equipment onboard and they claim this had all been blown overboard during their ordeal.”
NSRI continue to urge boaters and paddlers to wear life-jackets at all times while on water, carry red distress flares, carry a hand held GPS (Global Positioning Device), and a referee whistle, and a CD disc (to use with the sun as a reflector), and silver emergency blankets (they fold up into a palm sized packet), and a cell phone or VHF radio in water tight sleeves and batteries fully charged, and a water proof torch and let a responsible person know your launch time, your intended route and a return time and stick to your plans.
This picture is available for media on Sea Rescue’s Flickr page.