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OPERATION CENTRE (EOC)

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Jan Hofman. NSRI St Lucia station commander, said:At 13h08, Sunday, 9 May, NSRI St Lucia duty crew were alerted following reports from a concerned public member, who was at the observatory tower at iSimangaliso Park, of a yellow sea-kayak paddling in fairly challenging sea conditions approximately 1 nautical mile off the coast and appearing to be in difficulty.Taking the concerned citizens credibility into account, as he is a local experienced fisherman, NSRI St Lucia duty crew were activated and responded to Cape Vidal, towing our sea rescue Jetrib which was launched on arrival.Taking the wind direction into account we realized that the kayaker would drift towards Cape Vidal and we decided to launch the Jetrib and start searching from Cape Vidal in a Southerly direction towards the position where the kayaker was last seen.Our sea rescue vehicle proceeded along the coast in the same direction to search along the shoreline and also to maintain radio communications with the Jetrib.Following an extensive search both at sea and along the shoreline no sign of the paddler was found. There was always that possibility that the kayaker could have beached somewhere remotely and walked to either Cape Vidal or Mission Rocks (these are the only two accessible beach parking lots in the area).No abandoned vehicle (able to transport a kayak) was located along the shoreline.Messages appealing for any information was posted to various St Lucia town’s social media groups requesting any knowledge of the yellow kayaker or if there was any missing or overdue person’s to report and no feedback was received.The search was suspended late on Sunday afternoon.NSRI continued to monitor overnight but by Monday afternoon, with no reports of any person missing or overdue, it is believed that the paddler may have come ashore not realising that a search had been initiated.The concerned public member has been commended for raising the alarm as a precaution.
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