Geoff McGreggor, NSRI East London station commander, said:
At 04h00, Thursday, 29th March, NSRI East London duty crew were activated following a request for assistance from the wife of a sailor reporting her husband and 2 fellow male crew, on the yacht Quick Silver, reported to be sinking off the Kei River Mouth and the 3 crew abandoning their yacht into a life-raft.
NSRI were able to reach the sailors by phone who said that their yacht was sinking and that they are adrift in a life-raft before their cellphone battery ran dead.
Our sea rescue craft Spirit of Lotto was launched and our NSRI rescue vehicle towing our sea rescue craft Lotto Rescue Runner was dispatched and launched at Morgan Bay.
A search commenced.
By daybreak an EC Government Health EMS rescue helicopter joined the search for the 3 men in a life-raft while the casualty yacht was located run aground onto rocks at the Kei River Mouth.
During an extensive search the EMS rescue helicopter located the life-raft 2.5 nautical miles off-shore of Morgan Bay on the Transkei Coast and all 3 men appeared to be accounted for.
Our 2 NSRI sea rescue craft were guided to the life-raft by the rescue helicopter and all 3 men have been rescued and they were taken safe onboard the sea rescue craft Spirit of Lotto and the life-raft was recovered.
The 3 casualty crew were brought to East London aboard our sea rescue craft and they are making arrangements to salvage their yacht which appears to have re-floated in the Spring Tide at high tide and appears to now be adrift at sea but still close in shore and at risk of running aground again unmanned.
We believe that they experienced difficulties close in-shore before abandoning their yacht.
They are aged in their 50’s, from Durban, Kimberley and Johannesburg. They departed East London yesterday heading towards Durban when they got into difficulties during the early hours of this morning from causes unknown to NSRI.
SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority) will open an investigation.
Morgan Bay Hotel staff assisted NSRI at Morgan Bay this morning.
TO REPORT A SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY DIAL 112 FROM A CELLPHONE