Overnight a number of Lamberts Bay fishing boats were caught by dense fog sadly resulting in a fishing boat capsizing and two fishermen are missing and are feared to have drowned.
At 17h00 on Saturday the 23rd of May, NSRI Lamberts Bay duty crew were activated following reports of a number of fishing boats caught in dense fog.
A fishing boat with two fishermen onboard, happy to wait out the night, reported to NSRI that they had enough fuel, food, water and were waiting out the fog at anchor while another Lamberts Bay boat, VIPER, with two fishermen onboard reporting to be requiring assistance and lost in dense fog, were requested to drop anchor. Thought to be 12 nautical miles North of Lamberts Bay and about 1 nautical mile off-shore, NSRI Lamberts Bay proceeded to sea to search for them. After being unable to find them, NSRI Mykonos were activated to join in the search. Prior to Mykonos crew arriving on the scene, NSRI Lamberts Bay, aboard the sea rescue craft DOUGLAS MURRAY, found VIPER and her two crew, aged 63 and 64, safe and brought them ashore without incident.
One boat still remained unaccounted for while another two boats remained in contact with NSRI Lamberts Bay throughout the night. By this morning, from first light, NSRI Lamberts Bay duty crew launched DOUGLAS MURRAY again into dense fog to continue a search for the fishing boat that was unaccounted for and to assist the fishing boat JAWS TRULY, with 3 Lamberts Bay fishermen onboard, aged 34, 45 and 59. As fog lifted during the morning the fishing boat JAWS TRULY and her crew were found safe and returned to Lamberts Bay without incident.
During an ongoing search, at around 10h30 on Sunday the 24th May, NSRI Lamberts Bay happened upon a capsized 16 foot fishing boat with two Lamberts Bay fishermen clinging onto the upturned hull and both suffering from severe hypothermia 15 nautical miles North of Lamberts Bay and approximately 5 nautical miles off-shore.
Both fishermen were rescued onto the sea rescue craft DOUGLAS MURRAY and brought to shore and transported to hospital by EMS ambulance in stable but serious conditions.
They have confirmed that their two fishing colleagues that were on the boat with them were now missing at sea.
It appears that this was one of the boats that was unaccounted for which had capsized this morning in dense fog, with 4 crew onboard. Clinging onto the upturned hull of the boat, with no life jackets and no emergency equipment to raise the alarm, they drifted at the mercy of the sea in the dense fog.
At some point the two survivors reported that the 4 men fell asleep and when the survivors awoke their two fellow fishermen were missing and are feared to have drowned.
Water temperature was 11 degrees celsius at the time.
The capsized boat was abandoned at sea as NSRI rescuers aboard DOUGLAS MURRAY took the two fishermen aboard the sea rescue craft and began emergency rewarming treatment on the two survivors, aged approximately 20 and 50, while racing to get them to Lamberts Bay where WC Government Health EMS paramedics were waiting.
Telkom Maritime Radio Services are broadcasting a Maritime Navigational warning to alert boats in the area to be on the look out for the two missing fishermen and of the floating capsized 16 foot fishing boat approximately 15 nautical miles North of Lamberts Bay and 5 nautical miles off-shore.
It appears that all other boats that were overdue are now accounted for.
A Police Dive Unit have been activated to continue an ongoing search for the two missing Lamberts Bay fishermen.
Police are investigating.
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