NSRI Simon’s Town duty crew were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) on Tuesday the 4th June, following reports of 3 local fishermen on a small open rigid inflatable boat adrift in False Bay with motor mechanical failure.
The fishermen estimated that they were between Smitswinkel Bay and Pringle Bay and that they had been drifting without motor power since earlier in the day while fishing in the Cape Point area.
Their motor had reportedly failed on Tuesday morning.
Shortly after the 3 fishermen had raised the alarm cellphone contact and any means of communications with the 3 fishermen was lost.
A colleague of the 3 fishermen, and the owner of a white and blue rigid inflatable boat in the Strand, informed NSRI that earlier, at 12h00 on Tuesday the 5th of June, 2 local men had launched his boat at Harbour Island Gordon’s Bay, to go to the aid of the 3 fishermen adrift in False Bay. They have not returned.
A cold front, strong winds and heavy sea conditions, with up to 6.5 meter swells affected the Cape coastline on Tuesday.
MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) assisted NSRI commanders plotting and coordinating search patterns and the SA Air Force and NSRI ASR (Airborne Sea Rescue) were placed on alert.
On Wednesday afternoon during an extensive ongoing search and rescue operation, eye-witnesses in Sandbaai between Onrus and Hermanus, reported a boat appearing to be adrift and approaching the backline breaking waves and looking like it would run aground at Sandbaai.
NSRI Hermanus, WC Government Health EMS, EMR ambulance services, the SA Police Services and an SA Air Force helicopter responded to investigate and on arrival on the scene it was found to be the missing fishing boat (with the 3 fishermen). The boat had capsized in the waves at Sandbaai and washed ashore, along with the 3 fishermen.
One of the three fishermen was pronounced dead after efforts to resuscitate him by NSRI medics and EMS paramedics through extensive CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) failed.
The 2 survivors were medically treated by paramedics on the scene for hypothermia and transported to hospital by ambulance in serious but stable conditions.
The search is still on-going for the two local men who launched their boat to go to the aid of the three fishermen.