SEA RESCUE – STATION 5 Durban, STATION 20 Shelly Beach, STATION 32 Port Edward.
At 14h40 on Sunday the 2nd of March, the Durban NSRI duty controller received a call from a South Coast diving operator, saying that a dive charter boat had lost sight of the marker buoy of two divers and that they, a 27 year old male instructor and a 27 year old woman, who is busy with her Advanced Diver Course, were missing.
The divers were diving on the wreck of the Protea Banks at Aliwal Shoal, two nautical miles off Umkomaas and 25 miles south of Durban.
NSRI volunteers from Durban towed a private boat, Alice, to Umkomaas where they launched. Sea Rescue boats from Durban, Shelly beach and Port Edward were launched and two dive charter boats also joined the search. A SAAF Oryx helicopter was put on standby. The Port Edward Search and Rescue team set up a joint operations centre on the beach at the Umkomaas River mouth.
At 17h15, as the helicopter was about to take off, one of the dive charter boats, skippered by Walter Barnard, found the missing divers off Rocky Bay, 7 nautical miles from where the two were last seen.