Darren Zimmerman, NSRI Simon’s Town station commander, said:
At 17h03 on Tuesday the 4th June, NSRI Simon’s Town duty crew were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) following reports of 3 local fishermen on a small open rigid inflatable boat adrift in False Bay with motor mechanical failure. The fishermen estimated that they were between Smitswinkel Bay and Pringle Bay and that they had been drifting without motor power since earlier in the day while fishing in the Cape Point area. Their motor had reportedly failed on Tuesday morning.
Shortly after the 3 fishermen had raised the alarm cellphone contact and any means of communications with the 3 fishermen was lost.
A colleague of the 3 fishermen, and the owner of a white and blue rigid inflatable boat in the Strand, informed NSRI that earlier, at 12h00 on Tuesday the 5th of June, 2 local men had launched his boat at Harbour Island Gordon’s Bay, to go to the aid of the 3 fishermen adrift in False Bay. They have not returned.
Our NSRI Simon’s Town sea rescue craft Spirit of Safmarine III and Spirit of Surfski II were launched to begin a search and our sea rescue vehicle responded to a height above Simon’s Town to look-out. Our NSRI coast watchers were activated to keep a look-out and TNPA activated NSRI Kommetjie who dispatched their sea rescue vehicle to Cape Point to assist with communications and shoreline patrols.
NSRI Gordon’s Bay, NSRI Strandfontein, NSRI Kleinmond and NSRI Hout Bay were activated.
NSRI Hout Bay dispatched their sea rescue craft Nadine Gordimer and NSRI Gordon’s Bay dispatched their sea rescue craft Jack & Irene. NSRI Strandfontein, NSRI Gordon’s Bay and NSRI Kleinmond dispatched their sea rescue vehicles to cover a shoreline search.
A cold front, strong winds and heavy sea conditions, with up to 6.5 meter swells affected the Cape coastline on Tuesday.
MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) assisted NSRI commanders plotting and coordinating search patterns and the SA Air Force and NSRI ASR (Airborne Sea Rescue) were placed on alert.
Telkom Maritime Radio Services broadcast an all ships alert for vessels in the False Bay area and beyond False Bay to keep a look out for the boat adrift with 3 fishermen on the one boat and for the White and Blue 5.5 meter RIB with 2 fishermen on the second boat.
Ships at sea in the False Bay area kept a look-out and 2 fishing vessels assisted in a search and the SA Navy submarine SAS MANTHATISI conducted a surface water search between Cape Point and Simon’s Town.
On Wednesday morning NSRI Hermanus, NSRI ASR and the SA Air Force 22 Squadron joined the search.
NSRI Hermanus launched their sea rescue craft South Star and their sea rescue vehicle responded to conduct shoreline patrols and 2 SA Air Force helicopters, an Oryx and a Lynx, from 22 Squadron flew search patterns.
During an extensive ongoing search and rescue operation, eye-witnesses on Wednesday afternoon, in Sandbaai between Onrus and Hermanus, reported a boat appearing to be adrift and approaching the backline breaking waves and looking like it would run aground at Sandbaai.
NSRI Hermanus, WC Government Health EMS, EMR ambulance services, the SA Police Services and an SA Air Force helicopter responded to investigate and on arrival on the scene it was found to be the missing fishing boat (with the 3 fishermen). The boat had capsized in the waves at Sandbaai and washed ashore, along with the 3 fishermen.
NSRI medics and EMS paramedics conducted extensive CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) efforts on one of the fisherman but sadly after all efforts to resuscitate the man were exhausted he was declared deceased by paramedics.
Condolences are conveyed to family and friends of the deceased man.
Police have opened an inquest docket.
The 2 survivors were medically treated by paramedics on the scene for hypothermia and have been transported to hospital by ambulance in serious but stable conditions. They are expected to make full recoveries.
MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) are continuing to coordinate a search and rescue operation for the 2 local men on a white and blue 5.5 meter rigid inflatable boat that launched at Harbour Island on Tuesday the 4th of June, at approximately midday.
NSRI Simon’s Town, NSRI Strandfontein, NSRI Gordon’s Bay, NSRI Kleinmond, the EMS/AMS Skymed Rescue helicopter, the SA Police Services and Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services dive unit are engaged in an ongoing search and local neighbourhood watches and Law Enforcement have been requested to keep a look-out.
NSRI are informed that this boat and her 2 crew did not rendezvous with the 3 fishermen in False Bay on Tuesday.
An all ships alert is being broadcast by Telkom Maritime Radio Services for vessels in the False Bay area to keep a look-out.
NSRI commend the ships at sea, fishing vessels and private boats that are keeping a lookout. We appeal to the public along the False Bay coastline, Hermanus and beyond Hermanus to keep a lookout for the 2 fishermen on the White and Blue RIB.
Thoughts are with the families of the 2 missing men in this difficult time.