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UPDATE: The missing solo sailor has been located deceased on his yacht adrift at sea:


On Saturday afternoon, after the body of Darrol Hansen, 60, from Mossel Bay, was located onboard his sailing yacht Panacea adrift at sea, NSRI were requested by authorities to assist to tow the yacht to shelter in Stilbaai where investigations could be initiated and the body of the deceased recovered.

NSRI were requested by authorities to not breach the cabin (not to disturb the cabin or the body of deceased man) in order for a formal investigation to be conducted onboard the yacht on her arrival in the shelter of Stilbaai.

NSRI Stilbaai duty crew dispatched the sea rescue craft Breede Rescuer and on arrival on the scene, approximately 30 nautical miles South South East of Stilbaai, in foul weather conditions, the yacht was found to have sustained some water intake and damage.

A towline was established and while towing the yacht towards Stilbaai weather conditions deteriorated and the tow was released.

The AIS beacon (Automatic Identification Signal), the personal AIS beacon of the NSRI Airborne Sea Rescue rescue officer, who had been deployed to the yacht from the SAAF 22 Squadron Oryx helicopter earlier, which is a ‘man overboard beacon’ that the NSRI rescue officer had placed on the yacht to assist with locating the yacht remained secure on the yacht.

Later on Saturday evening NSRI Mossel Bay were requested, by authorities, to respond, during the early hours of Sunday morning, 21 August, to attempt to recover sailing yacht Panacea to Mossel Bay.

Authorities requested that the cabin was not to be breached or disturbed to allow for formal investigations to be launched on the yachts arrival at Mossel Bay Harbour.

NSRI Mossel Bay duty crew launched the NSRI deep sea rescue craft Spirit of Safmarine III, at 03h00, on Sunday, and arrived on the scene, 60 nautical miles from Mossel Bay, during Sunday morning.

The yacht was found to have sustained significant water intake.

NSRI Mossel Bay set up a water extrication pump, established a towline and initiated towing the sailing yacht towards Mossel Bay.

While towing the yacht towards Mossel Bay additional water flooded the yacht.

NSRI Mossel Bay dispatched the sea rescue craft St Blaze Rescuer with an additional water extrication pump.

12 nautical miles from Mossel Bay, at a water depth of 59 meters, 3 NSRI rescue swimmers onboard the yacht worked tirelessly to pump water out of the yacht in efforts to retain her buoyancy despite the risks of the listing and flooding vessel.

Sadly before the second water extrication pump could be deployed the yacht sunk.

NSRI members, who have known the family for many years, have paid tribute to the life of Darrol Hansen.

NSRI, the maritime rescue resources and the maritime fraternity involved in this operation have sent Condolences to the family.

Family has thanked NSRI, SAAF 22 Squadron, MRCC, Telkom Maritime Radio Services and the ships that diverted from their sea voyages to assist, for the extensive search efforts that located the missing yacht and their loved one.

Authorities are assessing the possibilities to locate the sunken yacht and the possible recovery of the body.

The family remains in our care and our thoughts are with the family and his friends during this time of celebration of Darrol’s life.

NSRI thanks the public members who contributed with information and the immense support we have received during and following this massive search and rescue operation.

Our thanks are expressed to Saldanha Bay Yacht Club and Royal Cape Yacht Club for their assistance with information during the search operation.

NSRI commends our volunteers from stations 31 Stilbaai, 15 Mossel Bay, 29 Airborne Sea Rescue, 17 Hermanus, NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre), NSRI Headquarters, all of the maritime rescue services that contributed, Telkom Maritime Radio Services, MRCC, SA Air Force, Transnet National Ports Authority, SA Police Services and the passing ships, who diverted from their voyages, for their contributions in this operation.

See 1st update media statement and original media statement below...

A massive search operation for a 60-year-old solo sailor from Mossel Bay ended on Saturday afternoon after an SA Air Force 22 squadron Oryx helicopter located the yacht approximately 30 nautical miles South South West of Stilbaai on the South Coast.

An NSRI Airborne rescue swimmer was deployed from the helicopter into the sea, he swam to and boarded the yacht where he found the sailor deceased below decks.

With limited aviation fuel remaining the rescue swimmer placed a signalling beacon on the yacht before being recovered into the helicopter and they returned to base.

An operation by authorities and the SA Police Services is underway to recover the body from the yacht safely and to recover the yacht safely.

Family of the deceased man has respectfully requested privacy in their time of grieving the sad loss of their loved one.

The effort by all involved, for their tireless contributions that helped to bring closure in this tragedy, is commended.

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