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The French bulk carrier CMA CGM Rossini brought the two survivors of the Catamaran Lama Lo to Cape Town arriving this morning just after 9a.m. and going to anchor outside of the Port of Table Bay.
The Transnet National Ports Authority requested NSRI Table Bay to fetch them off the ship and they were brought ashore to the NSRI Sea Rescue Base at the V&A Waterfront aboard the sea rescue craft Spirit of Vodacom.
To meet them the welcoming party included Kyle’s mom and dad, from Strand, Cape Town, members of the SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority), The French Consulate, MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre), NSRI and the media.
It was en emotional reunion for Kyle and his family and Jean spoke with his family in France.
Skipper of the 52 foot Catamaran Lama Lo, Jean Sitruk, 65, from Lyon, France and his crewman Kyle Castelyn, 19, from Strand, Cape Town, described their harrowing ordeal.
Sailing from Durban to Cape Town and next Port of call Port Elizabeth they had struck a whale while sailing in rough seas and strong winds at a speed of between 10 and 12 knots off the Transkei coast causing one hull to be holed.
On auto-pilot they heard loud bangs and felt the yacht swing to one side when they looked they saw a whale swimming alongside the yacht.
Immediately the yacht took on water and despite putting out a VHF marine radio Mayday distress broadcast on their marine radio VHF emergency frequency Channel 16 they were forced to abandon ship, taking whatever they could grab, before their craft listed and capsized within minutes at around 18h00 on Saturday 17th October.
Their Mayday went unheard.
They opted to to go on one of two rubber-ducks they had onboard a decision they have strongly defended as their best chance of survival considering the sea state at the time.
They activated their EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) and then hung on and rowed pointing the rubber duck into the sea in rough seas with strong winds and up to 5 meter swells.
Winds blew them apart from their capsized boat. The life-raft and the other rubber-duck were blown away from them in the strong winds.
They were about 50 nautical miles off the Transkei.
They had noticed ships in the distance using spotlights during the night but too far away to see them but it reassured them that a search had most likely been commenced but they were still a bit uncertain.
They set off a red distress flare but that went unnoticed.
In the early hours of Sunday morning they had capsized on the rubber-duck losing most of their supplies and belongings overboard but they were able to get some rest on the upturned hull of the rubber duck before it was again capsized the right way up forcing them again to paddle to keep the bow headed into the onslaught of waves.
At sunrise they saw ships in the distance but the ships were too far away to see them.
During an extensive ongoing search the ship CMA CGM Rossini located them, at last light at around 18h25 on Sunday, 55 nautical miles off Kidd’s Beach, East London.
They described hearing the ship sound 3 horn blasts and flicker spot lights in their direction after appearing to stop dead in the water some 3 nautical miles away from them and that was their first feelings of hope that they had been spotted.
They praised the Captain and crew of CMA CGM Rossini for excellent seamanship maneuvering the 277 meter ship closer to them before taking them onboard.
They were exhausted.
They described 5 star treatment from the crew of the ship who went even so far as to provide them with new shoes during the voyage to Cape Town.
Tired and with sore muscles they are delighted to be home but sad at their loss.
Salvors are assisting to investigate the feasibility to salvage the catamaran which remains capsized and adrift at sea.
UPDATE: SEA RESCUE WILD COAST, Sunday, 18th October.MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) confirmed from radio transmissions made between Telkom Maritime Radio Services, the bulk carrier CMA CGM Rossini and the NSRI sea rescue craft Spirit of Lotto that both men from the Lama Lo have been found alive and well adrift at sea in the yachts tender, an inflatable boat, about 51 nautical miles off Kidd’s Beach, East London.Both men, Jean Sitruk, 65, from Lyon, France, (Jean has been sailing abroad for the past 8 years) and Kyle Castelyn, 20, from Strand, Cape Town, have requested to stay on CMA CGM Rossini bound for Cape Town and are due to arrive in Cape Town on Tuesday.They were found adrift in the Lama Lo's tender at around 18h25 by the bulk carrier CMA CGM Rossini.MRCC had tasked the bulk carrier CMA CGM Rossini (one of 6 ships that were assisting in the search with the NSRI vessel and the SAAF helicopter) to go back to the last known position of the EPIRB and to search between there and where the Catamaran was physically located. Although that area had been searched earlier it was decided in the fading light to re-cover all ground and it was in this leg of the search effort that the tender was located with both men on board.CMA CGM Rossini came alongside the tender after reporting that the two men were rowing towards them and they took both men onboard their ship.Both men are reported to be in good spirits and understandably all of the people involved in the Search and Rescue operation are overjoyed.The families of the two men have been informed with the good news.Together with the NSRI East London sea rescue craft Spirit of Lotto and the SAAF 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter a further 6 ships assisted in the Search and Rescue operation, the bulk carriers Shin Heiru and Cape Olive, the container ships CMA CGM Rossini, Mare Atlanticum and Northern Justice and the oil chemical tanker STI Mythos. They are commended for their efforts today. MRCC have released them to continue on their voyages.Pictures are available on our flickr site but are low res only at this stage. Click here to download them.Life Raft 1 A Life raft found empty by MV Cape Olive.Capsized Cat Upturned hull of the Lama Lo.Life Raft 2 The empty Life raft found by MV Cape Olive.The small tender from the Lama Lo that Jean Sitruk and Kyle Castelyn were found on. The small tender from the Lama Lo that Jean Sitruk and Kyle Castelyn were found on. Original Story:A Search and Rescue operation coordinated by MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) is underway for the crew of a Catamaran that was found floating capsized about 50 nautical miles North East of East London (40 nautical miles off Cape Morgan).NSRI East London dispatched the sea rescue craft Spirit of Lotto, accompanied by East London Fire and Rescue Services rescue divers and Eastern Cape Government Health EMS rescue paramedics.An SA Air Force 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter, accompanied by navy divers, a Netcare 911 rescue paramedic and NSRI ASR (Air Sea Rescue) rescue swimmers has also been dispatched.The Catamaran reportedly departed Durban on Friday bound for East London with 2 crew onboard.MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) received an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) activation and ships in the area were diverted to the coordinates of the EPIRB to investigate, following an all ships alert by Telkom Maritime Radio Services broadcast on the VHF radio emergency frequency for any ships in the area to divert to investigate the EPIRB, while attempts were made to raise the sailing boat by VHF radio to try to determine the nature of the emergency if any.The first ship to arrive at the location of the EPIRB found the upturned hull of a Catamaran adrift and a life-raft was also found adrift in the vicinity but no sign of crew was found.Numerous ships that were in the area at the time have joined in the search.During yesterday sea conditions in the vicinity were rough seas with gale force winds gusting up to 50 knots.It remains unknown what caused the yacht to capsize and the fate of the two missing crew is unknown and a Search and Rescue operation is ongoing. R7 Track Spirit of Lotto track to the casualty vesselTO REPORT A SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY DIAL 112 FROM A CELLPHONESMS 32287 with your name and a message of support for our Sea Rescue crew
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