Clifford Ireland, NSRI Durban station commander, said:
At 14h25, Friday, 12th May, NSRI Durban duty crew were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) following reports of 3 scuba divers missing from their dive boat during a scuba dive at Aliwal Shoal, off Umkomaas. The dive boat that the 3 divers were diving from had not located the 3 divers during an initial search.
NSRI Durban dispatched a sea rescue vehicle and the sea rescue craft Eikos Rescuer II was placed on alert. NSRI Shelly Beach towed the sea rescue craft Spirit of Dawn to be launched at Umkomaas and NSRI Port Edward dispatched a sea rescue vehicle to join a shoreline search.
The NSRI ASR (Air Sea Rescue) were activated to initiate an air search. MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) initiated a search pattern.
A total of 8 local dive boats and private boats from the area had launched to join the dive boat searching for the 3 divers and local dive companies had dispatched 4×4 vehicles who were engaged in a shoreline search.
During the search carried out by the local dive boats and private boats and before NSRI sea rescue craft and air resources were launched the 3 divers were found safe ashore at Umgababa after they had managed to swim to shore and no one was injured and no further assistance was required.
It appears that the 3 divers had surfaced away from their dive boat at the same time that visibility was reduced by weather conditions and the 3 divers, an experienced local dive charter lead diver and a French couple, had waited at their surfacing position for about 40 minutes but after not regaining sight of their dive boat and not knowing what had become of their dive boat and skipper they had then initiated a swim towards shore and on reaching the shoreline they were found safe.
The local dive companies, their dive boats and 4×4 vehicles engaged in the search are commended for their efforts.
TO REPORT A SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY DIAL 112 FROM A CELLPHONE