Andre Fraser, NSRI Mossel Bay station commander, said: “At 18h40 (Saturday, 07th September) NSRI Mossel Bay volunteer sea rescue duty crew were activated following eye-witness reports of a suspected parachutist ditched into the sea at Vleesbaai, South West of Mossel Bay. (Between Mossel Bay and Still Bay).
“Our NSRI Mossel Bay volunteer sea rescue duty crew launched our ‘deep-sea’ sea rescue craft and our NSRI rescue vehicle responded to join the SA Police Services, Sea Borderline Police, who had been in the area at the time and who had initiated a search.
“Skydivers from the local skydive club had been skydiving in the area at last light but they confirmed that all of their skydivers were accounted for.
“It is also well known that paragliders often paraglide from dunes along that stretch of the coast and although often without any notification no evidence of paragliders along the coast (vehicles left unattended) could be found.
“On arrival on-scene it was confirmed that the eye-witness had seen the suspected parachute land in the water North East of Vleesbaai, over the Dana Bay vicinity.
“A second eye-witness account suggested that a red distress flare was sighted from the same incident, reportedly as the parachute ditched in the sea.
“An extensive sea and shore search revealed no sign of a parachute and no one has been reported missing or overdue.
“It is suspected that what was seen may have been a Chinese lantern but this has not been able to be confirmed and to be certain the situation will continue to be monitored.
“At 21h30 the search was called off after all avenues had been explored.
“By Sunday morning (08th September) there remains no report of anyone overdue or missing.”