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A fishing vessel runs aground on the rocky Gouritz coastline leaving four deceased, one missing, with two survivors on the South Cape Coast

At 01h50, Tuesday, 8 August, NSRI Mossel Bay were alerted by Telkom Maritime Radio Services of a May Day distress call received on VHF marine radio but very little information could be determined from the distress call other then it was suspected to have been broadcast from the Gouritz area, South Cape coastline.

It was undetermined what the vessels name was and undetermined where exactly the vessel was nor the number of persons on the vessel could be determined.

All efforts to reach the vessel by VHF marine radio, that had dispatched the May Day, had failed.

A fishing vessel in the Gouritz area had also received the partial May Day distress call.

2 local fishing vessels at sea in that area had initiated a search while MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre), TNPA (Transnet National Ports Authority) and NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) monitored and attempted to gather more information in cooperation with Telkom Maritime Radio Services.

An NSRI Mossel Bay rescue vehicle and Mossel Bay Fire and Rescue Services responded to Gouritz River Mouth and initiated a search in West and East directions, along the shore line.

Local Gouritz (CPF) Community Policing Forum members joined NSRI and Fire officers in that search.

No cellphone signal and no radio communications could be obtained from the area West of Gouritz River Mouth.

During the search the NSRI rescue vehicle crew, 5km West of Gouritz River Mouth, happened upon a local fishing trawler washed up on rocks at about 03h00 where the skipper of the casualty vessel was recovered from rocks in shallow surf - he claimed he had been conducting CPR on one of his 6 crew men but that area of the rocks was by now swamped by the high tide.

The skipper confirmed that including himself there were a total of 7 people onboard.

One crewman could be heard shouting for help from the casualty fishing vessel that was badly damaged and was being battered by heavy waves.

An NSRI rescue swimmer recovered that one crewman from the casualty fishing vessel in rough seas.

The skipper and that crewman were treated for hypothermia.

While the local fishing boat, that was searching off-shore, radioed Telkom Maritime Radio Services to alert to the casualty fishing vessels location, 5 kilometers West of Gouritz River Mouth, an NSRI member drove 3 kilometers to reach a cellphone signal to raise the alarm and to request additional rescue services and additional NSRI resources.

The SA Police Services, WC Government Health EMS rescue squad and ambulance, NSRI Mossel Bay and NSRI Still Bay responded to join the NSRI Mossel Bay team, Mossel Bay Fire and Rescue Services and Gouritz CPF members on the scene.

During an ongoing search 4 bodies were located and recovered from the surf line.

One man remains missing.

A Police Dive Unit, the EMS/AMS Skymed rescue helicopter, 2 NSRI rescue craft from NSRI Mossel Bay and 2 NSRI rescue craft from NSRI Still Bay were activated.

An extensive sea, air and shoreline search has revealed no signs of the one missing fisherman.

An EMS ambulance transported the skipper and his crewman to hospital and they are recovering.

Government Forensic Pathology Services have taken the bodies of the 4 deceased men into their care.

SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority) has initiated an investigation while Police have opened an Inquest Docket.

The causes of them running aground on rocks West of Gouritz River Mouth remains undetermined.

A search is continuing for the one missing fisherman.

All 7 crew from the casualty fishing vessel are adults and they are all believed to be local men.

Condolences are conveyed to the families of the 4 deceased men and thoughts are with the family of the missing man.

This is an ongoing operation.

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