At 19h30 on Monday the 10th of September St Francis Bay duty crew were activated following a request for urgent medical assistance from the Cape Town crayfish trawler, the 58 meter RIGEL IV, reporting that a 30 year old Cape Town crewman had severe injuries after his foot was caught in a rope, while deploying crayfish traps overboard, allegedly causing the fisherman to be pulled overboard by the rope and then pulled underwater by the descending crayfish trap.
“The crayfish trawler was deep-sea, believed to be some 25 nautical miles off-shore of St Francis Bay at the time deploying crayfish traps.
“The ‘man overboard’ emergency procedure was activated by the skipper of RIGEL IV.
“From what we understand from crew reports – the crew were able to cut one of the lines to the descending crayfish trap and then used the line fouled around the fishermans leg to haul him back up to the sea surface. He was then recovered (rescued) back onto the trawler.
“As part of the ‘man overboard’ emergency procedure NSRI St Francis Bay had immediately been notified by the ships company and a sea rescue response was mobilized.
“The man had sustained a serious fracture of his left femur and was suffering near drowning symptoms and lapsing in and out of consciousness.
“The vessel immediately headed towards St Francis Bay and our NSRI sea rescue craft Spirit of St Francis Bay was launched to rendezvous with the vessel.
“We rendezvoused with the vessel 18 nautical miles off-shore of St Francis Bay, in rough seas of 4.5 meter swells, and two NSRI medics were transferred aboard RIGEL IV where they found the semi conscious patient in a serious condition.
“An EC Government Health EMS ambulance was dispatched to stand-by at our sea rescue base.
“Crew of the vessel had rendered First-Aid treatment and our NSRI medics continued with medical treatment but sea conditions were too rough to risk transferring the patient across to our sea rescue boat and we instead escorted the trawler towards St Francis Bay while our two NSRI medics stayed onboard the trawler while continuing to render medical treatment.
“Once the trawler neared St Francis Bay sea conditions improved and the patient was transferred onto our sea rescue boat and he was brought to our sea rescue base and handed into the care of the EMS paramedics.
“The patient has been transported by EMS ambulance to hospital in a serious condition suffering unconsciousness near drowning symptoms and a fractured left femur.
“It was reported by the ships Captain that the fisherman had been wearing all safety apparel at the time of the incident, a hard hat, gloves, a life-jacket and protective wear.
“The skipper and crew of RIGEL IV are commended for rescuing their crewman from the water in what appear to have been extremely trying circumstances.
The sea rescue operation was completed at 23h30.