At 18h17, Tuesday, 31 January, NSRI Durban duty crew were activated following reports of 2 surf-skiers, on a double surf-ski, overdue from a paddle.
Fellow paddlers reported 2 surf-skiers had not arrived at the Durban Underwater Club (DUC) with the rest of the field of paddlers at around 17h00 after departing on a paddle from DUC at 16h00.
Fellow paddlers had launched to search fore the 2 local men finding only their unmanned surf-ski 1 nautical mile off-shore of Addington Beach.
In fading light by chance NSRI Durban duty crew were at the NSRI Durban rescue station at the time conducting routine maintenance and the NSRI rescue craft Spirit of Surfski 6 and Alec Rennie were immediately launched.
The Durban surf rescue network were alerted and Medi-Response ambulance services had initiated a shoreline search which was joined by NSRI Durban rescue crew.
NSRI Ballito and NSRI Umhlanga were placed on alert.
MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre), Transnet National Ports Authority and Telkom Maritime Radio Services were alerted.
An all ships alert was prepared to be broadcast by Telkom Maritime Radio Services, a Transnet National Ports Authority Port Net helicopter was prepared to be launched, accompanied by NSRI rescue swimmers.
Additional emergency services were alerted while NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre), NSRI Durban duty controllers and NSRI Headquarters operations controllers prepared to assist MRCC to draft a search pattern.
The NSRI rescue craft Spirit of Surfski 6 arrived in the search area and initiated a preliminary search pattern and within minutes the 2 casualties were found adrift in the water approximately 2 kilometers off-shore.
They were swimming towards the shore assisted by an onshore wind and accompanied by 1 life-jacket worn by one of the casualties.
They estimate they had covered about 3 kilometers swimming after their craft capsized and they had lost contact with their craft that had drifted away from them.
Suffering motion sickness they were both rescued onto the NSRI rescue craft and brought to the NSRI Durban rescue station without incident and they required no further assistance.
NSRI are appealing to paddlers to always secure a leash to the paddle craft and always use the NSRI RSA SafeTrx smartphone application even when paddling in groups.
Always stay with your floating craft.
Keep your cellphone fully charged in a water-tight plastic sleeve, carry red distress flares and a referee whistle hung around your neck and wear a properly fitting life-jacket correctly fastened and brightly colored gear.
When anyone is overdue or missing at sea or on inland waters alert NSRI immediately through the national emergency number 112 or NSRI EOC emergencies only at 0870949774.
The swift response in this case is commended.
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