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NSRI Kommetjie duty crew were activated after the neighbor of NSRI Kommetjie station commander Dave Smith called him on the phone reporting what he suspected to be SA Navy personnel washed off an SA Navy vessel off-shore of Slangkop Lighthouse.

NSRI Kommetjie duty crew responded to the NSRI Kommetjie rescue station to prepare to launch NSRI rescue craft while raising the alarm.

A few minutes later while preparing to launch the NSRI Kommetjie rescue craft, Spirit of the Vines and IL Batello, an MOB (man overboard) alert had been sounded from SA Navy vessels off-shore of Kommetjie and broadcast by Telkom Maritime Radio Services

At that stage NSRI Hout Bay, NSRI Simonstown, NSRI Bakoven, NSRI Table Bay, CMR (Cape Medical Response), WC Government Health EMS rescue squad and ambulance, Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services, SA Police Services, SAPS WPDS – Water Policing and Dive Services, CoCT (City of Cape Town) Law Enforcement and Law Enforcement Marine Unit and Kommetjie Community Neighbourhood watch were responding.

MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) and TNPA (Transnet National Ports Authority) were alerted and assisted in coordinating a rescue operation, assisted by NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre), NSRI duty controllers and the SA Navy Naval Command Post, for what was initially believed to be 7 adult male SA Navy divers in the water.

The SA Air Force 22 Squadron, an Oryx helicopter and a Lynx helicopter, and NSRI ASR (Airborne Sea Rescue) were activated.

SA National Defence Force, SA Air Force, SA Navy, Military medical personnel and Military Police responded, while SA Navy vessels in the area responded.

2 NSRI Kommetjie rescue craft arrived on the scene, 1 nautical mile off-shore of Slangkop Lighthouse, where 3 male casualties were rescued onto one NSRI rescue craft and 4 male casualties were rescued onto one NSRI rescue craft, all 7 - SA Navy Mariners.

CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) efforts were initiated on 2 of the men and once ashore, at the Kommetjie slipway, CPR was continued on both men by paramedics who, after all CPR efforts were exhausted, sadly they were both declared deceased.

1 man was airlifted to hospital by a Netcare 911 air ambulance helicopter in the care of paramedics in a critical condition where doctors and nurses are fighting to save his life. Thoughts are with the man and his family in this difficult time.

One SA Navy officer remained onboard the naval vessel and in a coordinated operation, during the late afternoon, offshore of Hout Bay, an SA Air Force helicopter deployed NSRI ASR rescue swimmers and EMS rescue paramedics onboard where the adult female was extricated from the vessel and CPR efforts were commenced.

NSRI Hout Bay dispatched an NSRI rescue craft and crew to assist at the Navy vessel.

Sadly, despite extensive CPR efforts, the female officer was declared deceased.

The body of the female was airlifted to the NSRI Hout Bay rescue station.

The bodies of the 3 deceased have been taken into the care of Government Health Forensic Pathology Services.

The 4 remaining crew survivors were lightly injured and did not require hospitalisation.

Condolences are conveyed to the families of the deceased.

Thoughts are with all affected by this tragic accident.

An investigation will be opened by the SA Navy and maritime authorities.

Police have opened inquest dockets on behalf of the deceased.

The swift response and cooperation between all services involved is commended.

My neighbour is commended for not hesitating in raising the alarm and we are confident his efforts contributed to saving lives today.

At this stage all thoughts and efforts are concentrated towards the families who tragically have lost their loved ones, and the injured mariner, and our combined SA National Defence Force in this difficult time.

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