At 06h52 on Wednesday the 07th of August NSRI Shelly Beach duty crew were called out by the Shelly Beach small craft harbour control tower for the ski-boat BIG MOMMA which had been capsized by a wave in the surf line with 8 men onboard.
Mark Harlen, NSRI Shelly Beach station commander, said: “It appears that the boat capsized while exiting through the surf line to go to sea with a local skipper and crewman and 6 passengers, believed to all be from Gauteng onboard. The skipper is in his early 50’s, the crewman in his 20’s and the 6 passengers are believed to be aged in their 40’s and earely 50’s.
“The incident happened in front of our NSRI Shelly Beach sea rescue base.
“Our NSRI Shelly Beach volunteer sea rescue duty crew, Police Search and Rescue, Hibiscus Medivac ambulance services and the Kwa-Zulu Natal private ambulance services responded.
“On arrival on-scene, in the chaos of the aftermath, it was initially suspected that two men may still be missing and a search and rescue operation was initiated but this was quickly ruled out after it was confirmed that all were safely ashore. They had all been assisted out of the water by locals who had reacted quickly by swimming and wading into the surf to help them out of the water. They were all wearing life-jackets.
“All 8 people were brought into our sea rescue base and treated by paramedics. The skipper has been transported to hospital by ambulance suffering a laceration to his head and chest pains suspected to be from fractured ribs. He is in a stable condition and is expected to recover fully. Three of the Gauteng passengers were transported to hospital by ambulance for observation for secondary drowning, as a precautionary measure, and they are in stable conditions. All eight were treated for hypothermia, shock, near drowning symptoms and exhaustion. The crew member and the remaining 3 passengers were released following medical treatment and they did not require to go to hospital.
“The damaged boat remains on the beach and will be recovered later.
“The local charter boat companies, fishermen and bystanders who reacted quickly, swimming and wading into the surf to rescue the eight, are commended for their actions this morning.”