Andre Fraser, NSRI Mossel Bay station commander, said:
At 07h40, Saturday, 06 June, NSRI Mossel Bay were alerted by the skipper of a local 14 meter fishing vessel reporting a crewman of his boat missing and he was suspected to have fallen overboard.
It appears that the fishing vessel had departed from Mossel Bay harbour at around 19h00 on Friday evening and most of her crew had retired to their bunks to sleep while the fishing vessel headed towards fishing grounds off-shore of Plettenberg Bay.
On Saturday morning the alarm was raised after one of her crew fishermen, from Mossel Bay, who was believed to have boarded the vessel when she departed the evening before could not be found on the fishing vessel and her crew suspected that he may fallen overboard during the night.
The fishing vessel was South of Robberg Nature Reserve at the time and had initiated a search heading back towards Mossel Bay and NSRI Mossel Bay launched the sea rescue craft Rescue 15 and St Blaize Rescuer to search a track line on the heading that the fishing trawler had been on during the night on her heading towards Plettenberg Bay.
NSRI Knysna, NSRI Plettenberg Bay and NSRI Wilderness duty crews were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) to join in the search and MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) initiated a search grid pattern and placed the SA Air Force on alert.
Telkom Maritime Radio Services assisted in communications and an all ships alert was posted on the marine radio emergency frequency.
NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) assisted with logistics.
NSRI Knysna launched their sea rescue craft Eileen Meadway, Jaytee 4 and Jolen and established a JOCC (Joint Operations Command Centre).
NSRI Wilderness launched the sea rescue craft Spirit of Rotary.
NSRI Plettenberg Bay launched their sea rescue craft Leonard Smith and Ray Farnham and NSRI Plettenberg Bay crew boarded a private aircraft at Plettenberg Bay airport that was volunteered by a local pilot and the aircraft joined in the search.
MRCC coordinated a SAAF 22 Squadron Oryx helicopter that was reportedly preparing to fly to Cape Town from Port Elizabeth to join the search on her way past the search area and the SAAF 22 squadron Oryx helicopter initiated a search on her arrival in the search area.
During land based investigations it was determined by security personnel at Mossel Bay harbour that the missing fisherman had been seen at the harbour the night before but some security personnel suggested that the fisherman may not have boarded the fishing vessel.
A phone call was made to the man’s residence and much to everyone’s surprise he was found to be at home and he had not boarded the fishing vessel and he was safe.
NSRI commend the quick reaction to initiate a full scale search and rescue operation and no harm was done in this false alarm with good intentions.
Rescue resources returned to base and the fishing vessel and her crew, relieved after finding out that their colleague was safe at home, continued on to fishing grounds and all agree that the reaction of the skipper of the fishing vessel can be commended under the circumstances.
Ian Klopper, NSRI Kommetjie station commander, said:
At 11h45, Saturday, 06 June, NSRI Kommetjie duty crew were activated following eye-witness reports of a drowning in progress at Witsands, between Kommetjie and Scarborough.
The sea rescue craft Spirit of the Vines was launched, NSRI rescue swimmers were dispatched directly to the scene and a City of Cape Town (CoCT) joint drowning in progress emergency services reaction was alerted.
NSRI rescue swimmers who arrived on the scene found a 50 year old local man on a surfboard who had reportedly launched to surf from the beach when he was caught in a rip current and was unable to immediately negotiate against the rip current to get back to shore.
He apparently indicated to his wife, who was on the shoreline, that he was okay and was preparing to get out of the rip current to paddle back to shore but his wife, as a precaution, raised the alarm and NSRI commend her for her actions.
NSRI rescue swimmers remained on the scene until the man paddled safely ashore as our sea rescue craft was arriving on the scene and no further assistance was required.
Ian Klopper, NSRI Kommetjie station commander, said:
At 14h06, Saturday, 06 June, NSRI Kommetjie duty crew were activated following eye-witness reports of a drowning in progress in front of Klein Slangkop resort, Kommetjie, where 2 people could be seen quite a distance off-shore.
The sea rescue craft Spirit of the Vines was prepared to be launched and NSRI rescue swimmers were dispatched directly to the scene.
Local surfers had also reportedly launched into the surf to go towards the 2 people who were in the water.
A private boat that was at the Kommetjie slipway at the time with 2 NSRI Kommetjie crewman onboard launched to go towards the scene.
On arrival the scene it was found to be 2 local Kommetjie residents who were spear fishing and they were not in any difficulty and this was a false alarm with good intentions.
They were both in the process of heading back to shore and they were given a lift to shore and no further assistance was required.
Darren Zimmerman, NSRI Simon’s Town station commander, said:
At 17h25, Saturday, 06 June, NSRI Simon’s Town duty crew were activated following eye-witness reports of an unmanned sea-kayak in the water drifting off-shore of Simonstown in the vicinity of Roman Rock with no one on board.
NSRI Coast watchers were also alerted to get eyes on the casualty craft.
The sea rescue craft Spirit of Safmarine III was launched and while responding towards the scene NSRI coast watchers confirmed that 2 persons could be seen in the water nearby to the unmanned craft.
On arrival on the scene 2 sea-kayaks were found with 2 local spear-fishermen onboard the 2 craft and they were preparing to head back to shore.
They had been spear fishing and they required no assistance and this was a false alarm with good intentions.
With light fading we opted to give them a lift back to shore and we took them onboard our sea rescue craft with the 2 sea-kayaks.
Once safely ashore they went on their way.
NSRI are encouraging spear fisherman free diving from a stationary craft to display an Alpha flag (Alpha Flag – Diver Below when stationary – Keep Clear).
Quentin Power, NSRI Ballito station commander, said:
At 15h59, Saturday, 06 June, NSRI Ballito duty crew were activated following public reports of a sea-kayak washed up at Umhloti beach unmanned.
NSRI Ballito sea rescue resources were activated to investigate and while responding towards the scene NSRI were alerted by a public member that a fisherman belonging to the unmanned craft was safely ashore and no assistance was needed.
It appears that the fisherman fell off the craft while he and a friend, both on sea-kayaks, were fishing off-shore.
The sea-kayak had apparently drifted away from him and drifted ashore and he was reportedly able to hitch a ride by hanging onto the back of his friends sea-kayak and they both reached the shoreline safely and no one was injured and he was reunited with his sea-kayak.