Casper Frylink, NSRI Mykonos station commander, said:
At 14h03, Monday, 17th April, NSRI Mykonos were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) following an NSRI RSA SafeTrx distress call received from 2 persons on a capsized rubber-duck off-shore of Gonnemanskraal, Jacobsbaai, and reporting a diver still down scuba diving from their boat at their capsized position.
NSRI Mykonos launched the sea rescue craft Spirit of Freemasonry and Gemini Rescuer II and responded 20 nautical miles to the scene. On arrival at the scene, about a nautical mile off-shore, found all persons safe and other boats in attendance and assisting.
Matthew and Megan Melidonis, aged 30 and 31, from Kirstenhof, Cape Town, both NSRI coxswains, off-duty on a recreational day diving and on a rubber-duck owned and skippered by 77 year old Doug Cleland, from Camps Bay, were scuba diving on a reef off-shore of Gonnemanskraal on the West Coast.
Matthew was scuba diving and under water at the time when waves caused the rubber-duck to capsize with Megan and Doug onboard.
Megan and Doug were able to climb onto the upturned hull of the capsized rubber-duck and Megan used her cellphone to activate the NSRI’s RSA SafeTrx emergency phone application that is downloaded to her phone and to also make a call to MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) to raise the alarm and to inform that her husband was still under water scuba diving.
Megan then free dived under the boat to recover the capsize kit and fire off a red distress flare in the direction of a fishing vessel passing by less than a nautical mile from their position but the distress flare appears to have gone unnoticed by the fishing vessel.
Megan then recovered and deployed the anchor to prevent the upturned boat from drifting onto rocks.
MRCC had also received the RSA SafeTrx emergency distress message at the same time as the phone call from Megan and Saldanha Bay Port Control and NSRI Mykonos were alerted by MRCC.
Family in Cape Town, who had also received the RSA SafeTrx emergency message, contacted friends in Jacobsbaai who launched their private boat to go to assist.
At that stage Matthew had surfaced from his scuba dive and he swam over to the capsized rubber-duck and once at the capsized rubber-duck he and Megan had continued to set off red distress flares at delayed intervals. The red distress flares were noticed by campers at Trekoskraal who launched their recreational craft and came to assist.
Matthew was also able to call for assistance and to confirm their position using a handheld Marine VHF radio that he recovered from their upturned craft and Telkom Maritime Radio Services intercepted the call and confirmed that NSRI Mykonos were activated and en-route.
When the two private boats arrived on the scene they were informed by the casualty crew that NSRI were also well on their way and Megan and Doug were taken onboard one of the private boats and on NSRI’s arrival on the scene Matthew remained behind to assist to right the capsize boat while one of the private boats took Megan and Doug to shore.
Their casualty boat was righted and towed to shore by NSRI and once safely ashore their boat was recovered and no further assistance was required.
The casualty crew Megan Melidonis, NSRI Hout Bay coxswain, and her husband Matthew, NSRI Simon’s Town coxswain, are commended for having all safety measures and equipment at hand to initiate an immediate rescue response and the private boats from Jacobsbaai and Trekoskraal that responded are commended for going to their assistance.
TO REPORT A SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY DIAL 112 FROM A CELLPHONE