At 17h10 on Saturday the 4th of April NSRI Richards Bay duty crew were activated following a request for assistance from a man reporting that his son and 3 fishermen were overdue and missing at Sodwana (80nm North of Richards Bay) on a boat.
The 4 local men had gone fishing aboard their 7m Cobra Cat MEERKAT at 06h00 to fish at the 500m depth mark, about 2nm off of Sodwana and were supposed to return at 14h00, but they had failed to return as scheduled.
NSRI Richards Bay launched SPIRIT OF RICHARDS BAY and SPIRIT OF ROUND TABLE estimating the search area to begin at Cape Vidal (35nm North of Richards Bay) and proceed in a grid search Northwards towards Sodwana.
KZN Wildlife rangers had begun shore patrols heading Southwards.
Estimates were that, if they had gotten into difficulty, the strong Southward drift would bring them Southwards towards Richards Bay.
During the search, at around 22h00, it was found that the father who reported his son overdue had apparently run out of battery power on his cellphone at about 15h00 in the afternoon. He was talking to NSRI through a KZN-Wildlife ranger’s cellphone keeping abreast of the search and rescue operation.
It was discovered that he had only managed to recharge the battery of his own cellphone at 22h00 and, on turning on the cellphone, a flood of messages from his son had been received reporting that the 4 fishermen had run out of fuel and had beached their boat at Leven (North of Cape Vidal). They were safe and walking Northwards on the beach.
KZN-Wildlife rangers located the men walking along the beach and they were all safe and picked up. Their boat was pulled further up the beach and they were brought to Sodwana. They will make arrangements to recover their boat on Sunday.
NSRI’s sea rescue craft returned to base at Richards Bay at midnight.
At 20h15 on Saturday the 4th of April, NSRI Hermanus duty crew were activated following reports of 3 red distress flares sighted at Kleinbaai, between Pearly Bay and Gansbaai.
NSRI Hermanus dispatched a sea rescue vehicle to investigate while our sea rescue craft HUNTERS GOLD RESCUER was towed to the area to be launched.
During investigating the flares eye-witnesses came forward to confirm that they had seen children on the beach firing the flares for unknown reasons but suspected to be with malicious intent.
The children could not be located and the Police were informed.
NSRI urge that red distress flares not be set off unless in an emergency. Setting off red distress flares unless in an emergency is illegal.
At 17h42 on Saturday the 4th of April, NSRI Melkbosstrand duty crew were activated following reports of a surf-skier overdue and missing between Milnerton and Blouberg.
Sea rescue craft were being prepared to be launched when lifeguards in Tableview confirmed that they had located the surf-skier on the beach and he was safe and no further assistance was required.
TO REPORT A SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY DIAL 112 FROM A CELLPHONE.
SMS 32287 with your name and a message of support for our Sea Rescue crew. SMS charged at R1.