At 10h44, Sunday, 05 February, NSRI were alerted following reports from a bystander, Mr. Ismail Moolla, from Athlone, and his friend Zain Mohammed, from Kenilworth, saying that they were fishing on Macassar Beach when a man had swum to shore through the surf-line exhausted and hypothermic and saying that his 6 meter boat Fire Bird, that he and 4 fellow fishermen had launched from Harbour Island in Gordons Bay earlier in the day, had capsized off-shore of Macassar and that he had swum to shore to raise the alarm and his 4 fellow fishermen and the capsized boat were missing at sea somewhere off-shore of Macassar Beach.Mr Moolla asked NSRI to send medical and rescue assistance for the man on the beach and to help to find the missing boat and the missing men.Mr Moolla said at first they thought the man was just going for a swim but seeing him swimming towards their fishing lines in the water they shouted to him to be careful but then realised that he appeared to be in trouble and they had both waded into the water to chest deep to help the man out.
The man was exhausted but he managed to tell them that his boat had capsized and that his 4 fellow fishermen were still at sea.
Mr Moola then confirmed to NSRI that he could physically see the capsized boat about 500 meters off-shore of Macassar Beach and he confirmed that he could see people hanging onto the upturned hull of the boat.
Other bystanders on Macassar Beach then also came to help.
NSRI Strandfontein, NSRI Simon’s Town and NSRI Gordon’s Bay duty crews dispatched sea rescue craft and sea rescue vehicles. WC Government Health EMS ambulance and a rescue squad, City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services and their Fire Dive Unit, the SA Police Services, a Police helicopter carrying Police divers and the AMS/EMS Skymed rescue helicopter responded.
On arrival on the scene paramedics treated the man on the beach, Mr Peter Wolmerans, 57, the skipper of Fire Bird, for shock, exhaustion and hypothermia.
The Skymed rescue helicopter, following a brief search, located the upturned hull of the boat with 4 men hanging onto the upturned hull of the boat.
Metro EMS rescue diver Andrew Holms was deployed from the helicopter into the water where he confirmed that despite exhaustion and hypothermia 3 of the 4 men were reasonably okay and one man was suffering extreme exhaustion and hypothermia.
Andrew secured all 4 men and the first sea rescue craft from NSRI Strandfontein arrived on the scene shortly followed by the NSRI Simon’s Town sea rescue craft and NSRI Gordon’s Bay sea rescue craft.
A Police diver was then deployed into the surf from the Police helicopter and together with the Metro EMS rescue diver and the NSRI crews all 4 casualties were rescued onto sea rescue craft where treatment for exhaustion and hypothermia commenced and they were transported aboard the NSRI Simon’s Town sea rescue craft, Spirit of Safmarine III, to Gordon’s Bay sea rescue base where they were met by GBMED security ambulance, WC Government Health EMS ambulance and ER24 ambulance.
Paramedics continued medical treatment to the 4 men at the NSRI Gordon’s Bay base before all 4 men were declared fit and no further medical assistance was required.
Mr Wolmerans was transported to Gordons Bay by Police and he had recovered and he required no further medical treatment.
Sea rescue craft from all 3 sea rescue stations then assisted to right the capsized craft at sea which was then towed to Gordons Bay harbour and recovered.
Ismail Moolla and Zain Mohammed are commended for their swift action on Macassar Beach which contributed to the 5 men’s lives being saved and all rescue services involved in this operation are commended for the swift and successful rescue operation.
Mr Wolmerans is commended for swimming about a kilometer to the beach to raise the alarm.
The 4 men are commended for staying with their capsized craft. Their actions contributed to their successful rescue.
The 4 men who stayed at the capsized boat, Jacques (35) and Ruaan (32) Brits, brothers, and Jack (35) and Nicholas (26) Meyer, brothers, remained in the water for almost 3 hours before rescuers reached them (because of the time delay with Mr Wolmerans swimming to shore to raise the alarm).
According to the men they were at anchor fishing when the back of their boat filled with water and capsized not giving them time to raise the alarm by radio and not having time to recover their capsize kit with their red distress flares. Mr Wolmerans then made the decision to swim to shore to raise the alarm. All 5 men are from Bellville.