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Gary Wolmerans, NSRI Shelly Beach station commander, said: At 10h38, Sunday, 24 March, NSRI Shelly Beach duty crew were activated following reports of 4 scuba divers missing in the vicinity of Protea Banks, Southern Pinnacle, just over 4 nautical miles off-shore of Margate, KZN South Coast.

It appears that during a scuba dive 4 divers, 3 males and a female, ages believed to be from around 18 to 43 (2 males, from the KZN South Coast and a father and daughter, from Cape Town), went missing during a scuba dive.

The charter boat raised the alarm while initiating a search.

The NSRI station 20 Shelly Beach rescue craft Spirit of Dawn and Freemasons Way, the NSRI station 32 Port Edward rescue craft Spirit of Steve, were launched, also accompanied by paramedics and by Police Search and Rescue officers, the charter boats Aqua Planet and African Dive Adventures joined in the search operation and a TNPA (Transnet National Ports Authority) Port Net helicopter, accompanied by an NSRI station 5 Durban (ASR) Airborne Sea Rescue rescue swimmer, activated and joined in the search.

NSRI Station 20 Shelly Beach

A private fixed wing aircraft was alerted by Margate Airport (ATC) Air Traffic Control and they contributed in an approximately 20 minute search along a search grid before continuing on their flight towards Virginia Airport and they are commended for their contribution in the search.

MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre), supported by NSRI's EOC (Emergency Operations Centre), (TNPA) Transnet National Ports Authority Durban Port Control, NSRI Shelly Beach, NSRI Port Edward and NSRI Rocky Bay duty controllers, assisted in determining sea drift currents, wind speeds and direction - to plot search grids.

Medi-Vac ambulance services and MI7 ambulance services assisted (as mentioned paramedics accompanied the NSRI rescue craft).

Telkom Maritime Radio Services broadcast an all ships marine VHF radio broadcast alerting vessels in the area to be on the lookout.

SA Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Pine Pienaar, who happened to be in the area at the time, volunteered and joined the NSRI's JOC (Joint Operations Control) at the NSRI Shelly Beach operations room, assisting to plot the search grids. He is commended for his contribution to the search.

During an extensive air, sea and shoreline search, involving sweeping line search efforts, in excess of 4.5 meter sea swells, the 4 divers were located, by the crew onboard the NSRI rescue craft Spirit of Dawn, at 13h37, 3 nautical miles off-shore of Leisure Bay, and they were recovered onto the NSRI rescue craft.

In good spirits, although a bit sunburnt, dehydrated, hungry and tired, they had drifted some 18 nautical miles South from where they had surfaced and had lost sight of their dive boat before drifting away in sea currents contributed by the sea conditions in excess of 4.5 meter sea swells.

4 scuba divers found after search Shelly Beach April 2024

Medical treatment was commenced by paramedics, including for motion sickness to one of the divers, and they were brought safely to Shelly Beach where after further medical evaluation they were released in good health.

We commend all services, private craft and individuals involved in contributing to this successful rescue operation.

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