SOUTH COAST KZN – Wednesday, 21 December. 2 missing divers found safe: Gary Wolmerans, NSRI Shelly Beach station commander, said: At 13h20, Wednesday, 21 December, NSRI Shelly Beach duty crew were activated after a local boat, with a crewman of the boat onboard, arrived at Ramsgate reporting that 2 divers, a local father and son, who had been diving from the boat, were missing and were last known to be diving in the vicinity of 7nm off Ramsgate and were adrift in their wet suits and scuba dive gear.
The crewman had searched for over an hour but failing to find the 2 divers he had raced to Ramsgate to raise the alarm.
5 local men, including skippers of private boats, members of Ramsgate Ski-boat club and commercial skippers, refuelled that boat and with that boats crewman onboard they launched to respond to the last known position of the 2 divers while raising the alarm.
The NSRI Shelly Beach rescue craft Spirit of Dawn was launched, accompanied by NSRI Shelly Beach duty crew and a Police Search and Rescue officer.
Med-Evac ambulance services launched their vessel Gods Gift, with NSRI crew, Med-Evac paramedics and a Police Search and Rescue officer.
NSRI Port Edward launched the sea rescue craft Spirit of Steve.
NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) placed NSRI Durban on alert and MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) were activated.
It was estimated that the 2 divers would be drifting towards Port Edward and an estimated speed of drift was calculated.
MRCC instructed Telkom Maritime Radio Services to broadcast an all ships alert for vessel in the vicinity to be on the look-out.
NSRI Headquarters Operations assisted NSRI's EOC, in cooperation with MRCC, to plot search patterns.
Private and commercial ski-boats Mesteph and Spitzbuble launched from Shelly Beach. An additional 3 private and commercial boats launched from Ramsgate. The private and commercial boats Shot for Shot and Vagabond launched from Port Edward - all to assist in the search.
An NSRI Durban rescue swimmer boarded the Port Net Transnet National Ports Authority helicopter, activated by MRCC, and responded to join the search operation.
Hendrik Ludick, of Airtrac Extreme Security, alerted Margate ATC (Air Traffic Control) who broadcast an all aircraft alert for aircraft flying in the area to be on the lookout.
Hendrik launched his Robertson 44 helicopter to search along the shoreline.
Rivermead Poultry diverted their Cessna 206 fixed wing aircraft to join the search.
An unidentified pilot, on a Mooney 20 fixed aircraft, kept a lookout while flying through the search area.
Lifeguards along the South Coast on duty at beaches searched along the shoreline.
Colonel Pine Pienaar, of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), a SAAF (South African Air Force) Commander, arrived at the NSRI Shelly Beach rescue station and he assisted NSRI Duty controllers in the operation coordination.
During the search NSRI Port Edward rescue craft that was 7 nautical miles off-shore of Palm Beach noticed the Mooney 20 aircraft circling about 2 nautical miles further out to sea.
NSRI Port Edward then noticed a red distress flare activation at that location.
On arriving at that location at 14h37 NSRI Port Edward found the private boat Shot for Shot had located and recovered the father from the water. (He was about 9 nautical miles South of where he had originally gone missing).
That casualty dad remained on the boat Shot for Shot which continued to assist in the ongoing search for his son who was still missing.
Later NSRI Port Edward noticed one of the boats (that was engaged in the search), Vagabond, heading
towards the NSRI Port Edward rescue craft.
On arriving at the NSRI rescue craft at 15h20, 7 nautical miles off-shore of Palm Springs, it was found that they had located and recovered the son (he was then transferred onto the NSRI rescue craft) and he was brought to Port Edward where he was reunited with his dad.
NSRI provided them refreshments and some treatment for dehydration, hypothermia and exhaustion but both are okay requiring no further assistance.
It appears that they had separated when the son had attempted to swim to shore.
The NSRI stations 20, 32, 5, MRCC, Transnet National Ports Authority, The Portnet helicopter, NSRI EOC, Telkom Maritime Radio Services, lifeguards, Med-Evac ambulance services and the SA Police Services Police Search and Rescue commend everyone involved in this operation for the swift reaction - with a special thanks to the private and commercial boats, private aircraft, Margate Air Traffic Control duty controllers and Colonel Pine Pienaar.
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