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NSRI Simonstown duty crew were activated following a request for urgent assistance from a cruising Catamaran reporting that their mooring had parted and they were adrift through the anchorage at Simonstown harbour. They reported that they had collided with a fishing vessel that was at anchor. Also, NSRI Mossel Bay duty crew were activated by Transnet National Ports Authority to patient evacuate an adult Indian sailor, with a medical complaint, from a chemical tanker motor vessel arriving in Mossel Bay. Lastly, NSRI Ballito duty crew and eThekwini Lifesaving lifeguards responded to Umdloti following reports of a drowning in progress.


Darren Zimmerman, NSRI Simonstown station commander, said:

At that stage it was unknown who was onboard the cruising Catamaran and it was unknown who was making the distress call but it was evident that this incident was unfolding and urgent.

Our NSRI Simonstown duty crew and all available NSRI Simonstown crew were activated.

While responding to launch sea rescue craft we determined that a family of 5, a husband, his wife and 3 children, were on the casualty cruising Catamaran. The skipper of the casualty cruising Catamaran had reportedly jumped onto the vessel that they had collided with, in an effort to assist to fend off the 2 vessels scraping against each other, but in so doing he had been left behind on the vessel at anchor (that he had jumped onto).

The dad had managed to start the casualty cruising Catamarans motor and he was now motoring the casualty vessel out to sea (without the skipper onboard) but although he managed to start the motors the casualty vessels battery was off and they had no lights, no radio and no steering, making the vessel dead in the water despite motoring towards deeper seas and away from colliding with more vessels that were at anchor.

The sea rescue craft Donna Nicholas and Spirit of Surfski II were launched into gusting to 40 knots South Easterly winds and rough seas.

On arrival on the scene we rescued the skipper from the fishing vessel and then raced to catch up with the casualty cruising Catamaran.

We reached them off-shore of Glencairn. The skipper was transferred onto the casualty vessel to assess the damage and he at first attempted to motor the vessel, without steerage towards Simonstown harbour, using the motors alternatively in an effort to assist in the steering, but it quickly became evident that this was not working in their favour with the casualty vessel unable to make headway against the strong South Easterly winds.

We established a towline but while establishing a towline the casualty vessel surfed over the towline and fouled around their stern drive.

They were now drifting closer to shore when we re-established a towline bow to bow and we stern towed them away from danger and into Simonstown harbour where they moored at the FBYC (False Bay Yacht Club) emergency mooring.

Once safely moored the crew of the casualty vessel were medically assessed and they were not injured.

The family and their skipper are from Durban. They are assessing any damage caused before continuing on their voyage.


Andre Fraser, NSRI Mossel Bay station commander, said:

Our sea rescue craft Spirit of Safmarine III was launched and on arrival on the scene the patient was transferred onto our sea rescue craft and brought to shore where he has been taken by the ships agent to see a doctor.

At 18h33 we dispatched our sea rescue craft Spirit of Safmarine III and St Blaize Rescuer, to rendezvous with a fishing vessel arriving in Mossel Bay from deep sea to patient evacuate a local fisherman suffering an injury sustained while working on the vessel.

The patient was brought to our sea rescue station in a stable condition and he has been taken to a local hospital for further care.


Quentin Power, NSRI Ballito station commander, said:

CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), Netcare 911 ambulance services and RUSA (Reaction Unit South Africa) EMS responded.

2 children, age 9 and 14, who had been swept out to sea in rip currents were rescued by bystanders and assisted by lifeguards they were treated on the scene for non-fatal drowning symptoms.

Paramedics continued with medical treatment and they were transported to hospital by Netcare 911 ambulance and by RUSA EMS ambulance in serious but stable conditions.

At 05h00, Friday, 14 January, NSRI Ballito duty crew and Netcare 911 ambulance services were activated to respond to Tinley Manor where a ski-boat capsized in the surf while launching to go to sea.

On arrival on the scene local kayakers had rescued 2 casualties from the surf.

1 man was treated on the scene by paramedics for injuries sustained and he was transported to hospital in a stable condition by Netcare 911 ambulance.

The casualty boat washed ashore and was recovered.

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SEA RESCUE – Incidents at Witsand and on the KZN North Coast

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