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A charter boat captained by a well-known KZN North Coast skipper has gone missing at sea near the border with Mozambique.

Update on Sunday 17 March at 16:21 CAT:

During an extensive search involving multiple agencies and a fixed wing aircraft the charter fishing ski-boat MAGNUM TOO was located wrecked and extensively burnt out in the vicinity of Dobela on the Mozambique coastline this morning.

Law Enforcement agencies response team are on site investigating.

There remains no signs of the skipper John Matambu or an as yet unidentified man who reportedly chartered the fishing vessel.

Both men remain missing in unknown circumstances.

Thoughts are with the family and colleagues of John Matambu in this difficult time.

Original story:

At around 17h00, Saturday, 16 March, NSRI Richards Bay were alerted to concerns of a charter vessel ski boat "MAGNUM TOO" a 21 foot Yeld Cat ski-boat, missing at sea in uncertain circumstances that appear to indicate that foul play may be involved.

NSRI are hopeful that this is not the case.

The ski-boat MAGNUM TOO may have departed Sodwana Bay during the early morning Saturday, 16 March.

NSRI Richards Bay duty crew and NSRI St Lucia duty crew were activated.

A search towards Sodwana Bay and North along the coastline were initiated including a private fixed wing aircraft and as yet there remains no signs of the ski-boat MAGNUM TOO with local competent skipper John Matambu onboard and a male passenger or passengers (uncertain) that we are hoping are well and safe.

A missing persons report has been opened at MBAZWANA Police station.

The SA Police Services Police Sea Borderline Control, Police Search and Rescue, TNPA (Transnet National Ports Authority), Ezemvelo KZN Wild Life, local community security companies, local public members, local resorts and lodges, along that entire stretch of coastline in that area, of Sodwana Bay and North of Sodwana Bay, are assisting to gather information, conduct investigations and conduct search efforts.

MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) are assisting.

It appears that persons, or a person, a male, that have not been identified, may have chartered the ski-boat that was expected to return to Sodwana Bay during Saturday afternoon.

Real concerns are emerging that appear to suggest possible foul play and concerns are for the skippers John Matambu's safety and his passenger/s.

We reiterate we are hopeful that this is not the case.

Fears are - that the ski-boat MAGNUM, that may have been seen to be heading North, past Banga Neck, and may have been pinned in the vicinity of Inhaca (unconfirmed) - may be involved in nefarious circumstances that are rapidly increasing concerns.

At 22h00 a report was received suggesting the ski-boat may have been spotted as far North as Santa Maria across to the Mozambique coastline.

Telkom Maritime Radio Services are broadcasting a marine radio all ships alert for vessels along the Northern Coastline of KZN (Eat Coast - Indian Ocean), and beyond the South African Eastern coastline border, to be on the look out and to report any sightings of ski-boat MAGNUM TOO.

Concerns are rapidly increasing. It is not normal for this well known and respected local skipper to fail to report in and/or to return to Sodwana.

During the night local community and coast watchers are commended for keeping an eye out for any red distress flares or any sighting of the missing ski-boat.

It appears that the individual/s who chartered the boat may have provided false information as to their identity(this is not confirmed and may be a misunderstanding) - after arriving in the Sodwana Bay area, reportedly, on a motor bike. Efforts to locate the charter passenger/s, the skipper John Matambu and ski-boat MAGNUM TOO remain unsolved.

We are appealing to anyone with information that can assist Police in this search to contact Police on 10111 and or NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) 0870949774 or MRCC 0219383300.

Thoughts with the family of the skipper in this difficult time.

Pictures of the boat, MAGNUM TOO, the skipper John Matambu are posted to NSRI web page and NSRI social media. We are encouraging this toi be shared far and wide and we commend the media's urgent attention to this case.

We are hopeful that the boat, crew and passengers are found safe.

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