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NSRI Vaal Dam duty crew were activated by concerned boaters who had noticed a ski-boat had drifted against the dam wall in between sluice gates that were open due to the high water levels. Also, NSRI Durban duty crew were placed on alert to prepare for the medical evacuation of a 40 year old crewman, from India, suffering a medical complaint onboard an oil tanker heading towards Durban from deep sea. Additionally, NSRI Agulhas duty crew were activated following reports of a rigid hull inflatable craft, with 6 people onboard including children, inshore from Langezandt, near Struisbaai, with engine failure. Lastly, NSRI Hartbeespoort Dam duty crew were activated following reports of a boat appearing to be in distress in the vicinity of Kosmos on Hartbeespoort dam.


Jake Manten, NSRI Vaal Dam station commander, said:

NSRI approached the Department of Water and Sanitation to close the sluice gates while the NSRI rescue craft Spirit of Round Table was launched.

On arrival on the scene we found one person onboard the casualty craft, a Johannesburg man, holding onto a closed sluice gate that was in between 2 of the open sluice gates and his boat was at risk of being swept left or right towards the 2 open sluice gates on either side.

NSRI stood-by at a safe distance unable to immediately approach the casualty boat due to the risk of the rescue craft being swept through a sluice gate.

After the sluice gates were sufficiently closed enough to deem it safe enough for our rescue craft to approach we reached the casualty craft and we established a tow-line.

We towed the casualty craft to our NSRI rescue base and the no further assistance was required.

It appears that the casualty boat suffered engine failure that caused the boat to drift up against the dam wall.

We commend the skipper for holding onto the closed sluice gate until it was safe enough for a rescue to be affected.

NSRI commend Pieter Vermaak, from the Department of Water and Sanitation, for the quick response to closing the sluice gates.

NSRI Vaal Dam are appealing to the Vaal Dam community to stay a safe distance away from the dam wall when the sluice gates are open as there are no safety cables.


Jonathan Kellerman, NSRI Durban station commander, said:

MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) and a WC Government Health EMS duty doctor had deemed it necessary for the patient to be evacuated to hospital at the earliest opportunity.

At 03h52, Sunday, 01 May, NSRI Durban duty controllers were notified that the vessel was 13 nautical miles off-shore of Durban.

The sea rescue craft Alec Rennie was launched accompanied by Netcare 911 rescue paramedics.

On arrival at the vessel, in 2.5 meter swells and fair weather, the patient was transferred onto our sea rescue craft and brought to our NSRI Durban sea rescue base.

In a stable condition the patient was transported to hospital by Netcare 911 ambulance and he is expected to make a full recovery.

Then on Monday, 2 May, at 17h49, NSRI Durban duty crew were activated following a request for assistance from 4 local crew on a ski-boat reporting engine failure 3 nautical miles off-shore of Durban Port.

The sea rescue craft Spirit of Surtfski VI was launched.

We rendezvoused with the casualty boat. A towline was established and we towed them to the public slipway.

Once safely at the public slipway they required no further assistance.


Reinard Geldenhuys, NSRI Agulhas station commander, said:

The sea rescue craft Spirit of Agulhas was put on alert to launch while our NSRI jet-rib Sea Ranger 17 was launched.

While responding additional reports suggested that the casualty craft was drifting towards the shoreline.

On our arrival we found the skipper had managed to get the boats engines started and accompanied by our sea rescue craft they were able to get back to Struisbaai harbour without incident and no further assistance was required.


Arthur Crewe, NSRI Hartbeespoort Dam station commander, said:

The NSRI rescue craft Sea Legs and an SRU (Strategic Rescue Unit) rescue craft were launched.

On arrival on the scene we found that a local ski-boat had drifted ashore at Kosmos after experiencing engine failure.

All casualty crew were safe.

A towline was established from the SRU rescue craft and they were towed to Kosmos Boat Club without incident and no further assistance was required.

Vaal Dam 3 May 2022
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