Alan Meiklejohn, NSRI Gordons Bay station commander, said:
At 19h30, Friday, 03 April, NSRI Gordons Bay duty crew were activated following reports from a Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries inspector of a suspected scuba dive cylinder floating in the water just off-shore of Gordons Bay harbour.
We launched our rescue runner Boetie Woltemade and on arrival on the scene, 200 meters off Gordons Bay harbour, a party balloon with a large C-shaped golden letter, was located, recovered and brought to shore and handed to the Sea Fisheries inspector for disposal.
The helium balloon most likely landed in the sea and the origin is unknown.
Deon Langenhoven, NSRI Hermanus station commander, said:
At 20h20, Friday, 03 April, NSRI Hermanus and NSRI Kleinmond duty crews were activated following reports of red distress flares witnessed off Hawston between Hermanus and Kleinmond.
Eye-witnesses notified NSRI and the SA Police Services of the sighting.
NSRI Hermanus launched the sea rescue craft Rotarian Burnet, NSRI Kleinmond launched the sea rescue craft Jaytee III and shore crew responded in sea rescue vehicles to spot from land while our NSRI network of coast watchers in the area were activated to scan the ocean.
Telkom Maritime Radio Services assisted in VHF marine radio communications.
Despite an extensive search that continued well into midnight, and at times in zero visibility due to dense fog, the search was suspended. No sign of any persons, vessels or craft were found to be overdue or in distress and the reason for the red distress flare activation remains a mystery.
Geoff Stevens, NSRI Hout bay station commander, said:
At 16h19, Friday, 03 April, NSRI Hout Bay duty crew were activated following reports of children in difficulty on a flotation device off Fish on the Rocks in Hout Bay.
While preparing to launch sea rescue craft, ADT Security confirmed that the children had managed to come ashore without incident or injury. ADT officers transported them home and no further assistance was required.
At 21h21, Saturday, 04 April, NSRI Hout Bay duty crew were alerted to red distress flares suspected to have come from off-shore of Hout Bay.
NSRI Kommetjie and NSRI Bakoven were also placed on alert.
A sea rescue vehicle responded to the top of Chapman’s Peak to spot and the NSRI coast watcher network for the area was activated.
No signs of any person, vessel or craft was found to be in difficulty or overdue or missing and at 22h45 a search was suspended. There remains no reports indicating any person, vessel or craft overdue or in any difficulty.
The reason for the red distress flare activation remains a mystery.
Mike Shaw, NSRI Mykonos station commander, said:
NSRI Mykonos duty crew were activated at 20h37, Saturday, 04 April, following eye-witness reports of screaming and shouting coming from the vicinity of the coastline or at sea at Bamboes Baai, South of Jacobs Bay, near to the Crayfish Factory.
Unknown as to the origin or cause of the screaming and shouting, our sea rescue craft Spirit of Rotary East London launched to investigate and a sea rescue vehicle responded to the vicinity but nothing was found and there remains no report of persons, vessels or craft overdue or missing.
Vaughn Seconds, NSRI Strandfontein station commander, said:
At 21h28, Saturday, 04 April, NSRI Strandfontein and NSRI Simon’s Town were alerted following reports of a suspected flare sighted off Muizenberg, described as white illuminating flare, from an eye-witness in Muizenberg.
The duty crews for both stations were placed on alert and the coast watcher network for that area was activated to keep a look-out. An NSRI Strandfontein sea rescue vehicle with crew responded to Muizenberg Surfers Corner to interview the eye-witness.
On closer investigation it could not be determined what was witnessed and although we monitored during the night, no further reports or similar sightings were observed and the good intentions of the eye-witness was commended.
Jacques Kruger, NSRI Richards Bay station commander, said:
At 06h05, Saturday, 04 April, NSRI Richards Bay and Netcare 911 ambulance services were activated to prepare to patient evacuate a 31 year old Filipino crewman suffering a medical complaint (not Covid-19 related) off a bulk carrier at anchorage off Richards Bay.
Earlier, at 05h00, MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) contacted NSRI Richards Bay reporting that a WC Government Health EMS duty doctor, TNPA (Transnet National Ports Authority), Port Security and Port Health Authorities were investigating the possibility of a patient evacuation off the ship and after all Department of Health and security checks were met, at 06h05 TNPA activated NSRI Richards Bay and Netcare 911 to carry out the patient evacuation operation.
The sea rescue craft Spirit of Richards Bay was launched, accompanied by 2 Netcare 911 rescue paramedics, and on arrival at the ship the rescue paramedics boarded the ship and treatment of the patient commenced.
The patient was secured into a Stokes basket stretcher and transferred onto our sea rescue craft, and in the care of the Netcare 911 rescue paramedics, was brought to our sea rescue base without incident and transported in a stable condition to hospital in a Netcare 911 ambulance for further medical care.
Later in the day, following medical treatment, the patient was released from hospital in good health and transported back to the ship by Boss Marine which was arranged by TNPA.
NSRI Emergency Operations Centre, Telkom Maritime Radio Services, WC Government health EMS, Transnet National Ports Authority, Port Health and Port Security assisted the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in communications, coordination and logistics during the operation.
NSRI remains fully operational and in service to respond to emergencies during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The sea rescue emergency number – National 112 from your cellphone and 087 094-9774.
Sea Rescue local emergency numbers are posted on the NSRI home page www.searescue.org.za
All precautions and protocols as directed by the Department of Health are being observed and adhered to during rescue operations and this includes operations involving patient evacuations off ships.
NSRI, as a Non Profit Organisation, relies on public funding to continue saving lives. Our telemarketing team are now working virtually from home in our effort to keep raising the much needed funds to remain operational.
We appeal to everyone to visit our website www.nsri.org.za/funding/donate/ and to make a donation – however small — to help keep us afloat. We need to ensure that we can continue to respond to emergencies at sea and on inland waters and in our support to land based emergency services during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
NSRI are appealing to the public to remain safe during this time. Water related emergencies at home may include something as simple as a child falling into a bucket of water and drowning. Precautions should be applied to maintain home safety. A home swimming pool should have child proof barriers to prevent children’s unsupervised access to the pool. Supervision for children around water should be strictly adhered to.
NSRI appeal to everyone to adopt a safety conscience mindset during the lockdown.
TO REPORT A SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY DIAL 112 FROM A CELLPHONE