Early evening of Sunday, 05 January, the NSRI Airborne Sea Rescue unit, the SA Air Force 22 Squadron, NSRI Table Bay and NSRI Mykonos were placed on high alert by the Transnet National Ports Authority following reports of Cape to Rio Yachts in difficulties in rough seas between 75 nautical miles and approximately 120 nautical miles off-shore of Cape Town.
MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) summoned ships at sea to respond to emergency distress calls from yachts affected while activating the SA Navy to dispatch resources. Telkom Maritime Radio Services are assisting with communications.
Cape to Rio Headquarters confirmed that yacht BILLE de-masted during the afternoon of Sunday 05th January and of her crew were injured with one confirmed fatality onboard. Communications were then also lost with yacht AVA. Race yachts were diverted to assist while the SA Navy Naval Frigate ISLANDWANA departed from the Port of Table Bay to respond on a rescue mission during the night, departing in 75 minutes following a full crew recall.
Various other yachts suffered damage in what is reported as conditions of up to 8 meter swells and up to 60 knot gale force winds. Some yachts are limping back to Saldanha Bay and to Cape Town. The Cape to Rio web site are keeping updates with information. NSRI, the SA Air Force and the WC Government Health EMS remain on high alert to assist if necessary.
MRCC continue to coordinate the rescue operation.