Correction: Keryn van der Walt was not the skipper of the dive charter boat at the time – but contributed to the media statement as Spokesperson for Agulhas House…
Corrected media statement below….
At 07h13, Friday, 08th December, the Agulhas House charter craft Agulhas 3 capsized while launching from Umkomaas for a scuba diving trip to Aliwal Shoal with 8 French nationals onboard and two crew, a dive master and a skipper.
The Dive master and skipper are commended for getting everyone to swim together towards the beach where bystanders from local dive centres assisted all to get out of the water and Blue Ocean Dive Resort assisted the rest of the divers and assistants by holding the boat facing into the surf and assisting divers, and those helping, from the water.
The dive charter company are grateful for all of the support and everyone who came together to assist in making sure that everyone was safely out of the water.
The casualty craft was recovered onto the beach after all divers and those who were assisting were safely out of the water and the casualty craft has been removed from the beach.
Keryn van der Walt, Spokesperson for Agulhas House (and an NSRI Port Alfred coxswain), has contributed to this media statement and NSRI have commended all involved.
NSRI Rocky Bay were alerted but all involved in the incident were already assisted and safely out of the water when NSRI arrived on the scene and confirmed that there were no injuries.
Jeremiah Jackson, NSRI Shelly Beach station commander, said:
At 09h40, Friday, 08th December, NSRI Shelly Beach duty crew were activated by the Shelly Beach Tower of 10 divers reported to be missing off-shore of Shelly Beach during a charter dive.
It appears that the skipper of a dive charter boat fell overboard after the craft hit a wave but managing to swim back to the boat he raised the alarm while starting a search for the dive marker buoy that he had lost sight of during the man overboard incident.
All charter and private boats, in the vicinity at the time, as per standard protocol, diverted to assist and NSRI Shelly Beach, NSRI Rocky Bay, NSRI Port Edward prepared to launch to assist and the Police Search and Rescue, a Police helicopter and an SA Air Force Squadron 15 Oryx helicopter and an NSRI ASR (Airborne Sea Rescue) team were alerted by MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre).
Almost immediately, as preparations for a search and rescue operation were getting into gear, the charter dive boat found the dive marker buoy and no further assistance was required.
NSRI have commended the dive charter boat skipper, the dive charter boat companies (along the KZN South Coast) for their quick actions and the support to their fellow dive charter boat that was displayed in a rapid deployment this morning and the successful conclusion.
The charter dive continued without incident.
At 11h10, Friday, 08th December, NSRI Mossel Bay were alerted to a lone paddler reported to be in difficulty off-shore of The Point, Mossel Bay.
The sea rescue craft St Blaize Rescuer was launched and the sea rescue vehicle responded to the land side.
A 36 year old female, reporting to be solo paddling from Sedgefield to Alexander Bay, was found to be hypothermic on her paddle craft and she was brought to the sea rescue base aboard the sea rescue craft (her kayak was also recovered) and she was treated for Hypothermia by By Grace ambulance services paramedics and after successful treatment she has been collected from our base by friends and she required no further assistance.
NSRI are not aware if she plans to continue on her voyage.
TO REPORT A SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY DIAL 112 FROM A CELLPHONE