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NSRI Witbank duty crew were activated to assist Police at the Klein Olifants River, near to the Mhluzi lower water bridge, near to Middleberg, also the NSRI Kleinmond duty crew were alerted to eye-witness reports a yellow kayak adrift a nautical mile off-shore of Pringle Bay. Additionally, NSRI Plettenberg Bay were activated following reports of a pencil duck capsized in the Keurbooms River Mouth. Lastly, Our NSRI Simonstown duty crew were alerted at 10h58 on Sunday 17 April to prepare to assist a 28 foot sailing yacht, heading towards Simonstown’s FBYC (False Bay Yacht Club) from the Southern Cape, and experiencing engine failure


Travis Clack, NSRI Witbank station commander, said:

It was unknown if there were any occupants in the vehicle which was not accessible.

The vehicle was lying semi submerged in deep swift water rapids.

SA Police Services, Steve Tshwete Fire and Rescue Services, Mpumalanga Government Health EMS and local towing services were on the scene.

On our arrival on the scene, with coordination being assisted by a Police diver, NSRI rescue swimmers were able to rig a safety line across the river which reached over the vehicle.

The Fire Department had already arranged for sluice gates to be closed further upstream but even with this arrangement the water continued to flow swiftly around the vehicle due to heavy rainfall causing swollen river and flooding conditions.

Working as quickly as was safely possible in an effort to save lives if there may be persons trapped in the vehicle a number of attempts under trying conditions by our NSRI rescue swimmers who reached the semi submerged vehicle we were unable to determine if there were any persons in the vehicle in the extreme challenging swiftly flowing rapids.

Using the tow recovery vehicles an NSRI rescue swimmer free dived on the vehicle attaching 3 winch cables to various anchor points on the vehicle chassis and the vehicle was recovered to the shoreline.

There were no persons found in the vehicle and Police recovered only an ID book and personal details of the vehicle owner.

The vehicle owner was contacted and he was found to be safe at home.

It remains unclear what caused the vehicle to land up in the river and Police are investigating.

We commend all services on the scene and we commend the tow recovery vehicles cooperation in the rescue and recovery effort.

Our NSRI rescue swimmers are commended for their outstanding efforts in this challenging swift water rescue and recovery operation.

An NSRI crewman was able to get visuals on the kayak and no person or persons could be seen on the kayak or in the vicinity.

The kayak was being blown in brisk winds in a direction indicating that it was being blown off-shore and heading in a direction towards Cape Point.

An NSRI Kleinmond sea rescue craft was prepared to be launched while NSRI crew responded to the launch site at Pringle Bay to investigate.

NSRI Gordons Bay duty crew were placed on alert.

It was found that the kayaker, an adult male from Somerset West, was safely ashore at Pringle Bay after he abandoned his kayak in the surf zone and he required no further assistance.

On Saturday while NSRI Simonstown were on a routine training exercise a nautical mile off-shore of Romans Rock Lighthouse, Simonstown, an NSRI crewman onboard the sea rescue craft Donna Nicholas caught site of an object afloat at sea and the sea rescue craft was diverted to investigate.

An unmanned yellow kayak, fitting the description of the kayak that was abandoned at Pringle Bay, was recovered and it was confirmed to be the same kayak.

Arrangements have been made for the man to collect his kayak at NSRI Simonstown rescue base.

Then on Saturday mid morning, 16 April, NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) and NSRI Kleinmond duty crew were alerted to eye-witness reports of a double kayak being blown off-shore at Pringle Bay.

NSRI Gordons Bay were placed on alert.

At 10h42 NSRI Kleinmond were alerted by the SA Police Services that they had eyes on the kayak where a private boat, Black Pearl, had diverted to assist the kayakers. Black Pearl had rescued both kayakers and recovered their kayak.

Police monitored Black Pearl until she was safely ashore and the kayakers required no further assistance.

NSRI commend the crew of Black Pearl for their quick action.

NSRI are appealing to paddlers to download and use the free smartphone NSRI RSA SafeTrx app that can be found on our web page at


Laurent Eray, NSRI Plettenberg Bay deputy station commander, said:

A number of private boats in the vicinity appeared to be assisting.

Our NSRI Jet Rib was launched and NSRI rescue swimmers responded to the scene.

On arrival on the scene we found the boat had been righted and the crew of the casualty boat were not injured and they required no further assistance.

We returned to base.

At 10h41, Sunday, 17 April, our NSRI Plettenberg Bay duty crew were activated following reports of a 2 men kayaking who got into difficulty off-shore of Natures Valley.

Our NSRI Natures Valley coast watchers responded to get “eyes the scene” while our duty crew launched sea rescue craft.

On arrival on the scene our NSRI Natures Valley coast watchers found the 2 casualties, males, to be safely ashore and not injured and their kayak washed ashore.

Both men and their kayak had been washed ashore in a set of waves after they were separated from their kayak at the backline.

No further assistance was required and our sea rescue craft turned around returned to base.


Andrew de Kock, NSRI Simonstown duty coxswain, said:

They were heading towards Knysna but after experiencing engine failure along the Southern Cape coastline they decided to turn around and head back to FBYC.

FBYC alerted NSRI Simonstown and it was established that the yacht would reach Simonstown nearer to midnight and they would need assistance to get into the harbour.

At 20h39 our NSRI Simonstown duty crew were activated to prepare to launch the sea rescue craft Spirit of Surfski II with the yacht reporting to be entering False Bay and making good headway.

Spirit of Surfski II rendezvoused with the yacht just off-shore of Simonstown where we rafted alongside the yacht and manoeuvred her into the harbour and safely to a berth without incident and no further assistance was required.

The operation completed at 23h03.

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