Hout Bay charter trip ends with deadly capsizing

2012-10-13 19:11

One person was confirmed dead and three were still missing after a charter boat capsized in choppy seas near Hout Bay Harbour.

The National Sea Rescue Institute’s (NSRI) Craig Lambinon said there had been either 33 or 34 people on board when the boat, a catamaran, capsized yesterday afternoon.

He said the survivors had been taken to hospital, some seriously injured and others to be treated for minor injuries.

It was initially reported that four people had died, but at about 5.30pm Lambinon said only one person was confirmed dead, though the search continued for six others.

Late yesterday afternoon, emergency staff diverted traffic away from the Hout Bay Harbour, which was cordoned off with yellow tape.

Natalie Bauer and her family were among the first to be rescued. She said the family went out on the boat as a surprise for her husband Michael, who was celebrating his 40th birthday.

City Press spoke to Bauer last night outside the NSRI’s Hout Bay offices. She and her two children – Hunter (8) and Blade (6) were wrapped in blankets against the chilly wind whipping through the harbour.

One of the Bauers’ friends, a woman they identified only as Bronwyn, was stuck in the hull and only rescued later.

The family was heading to a local hospital to visit her at 6pm yesterday.

Hout Bay resident Roxi Newham-Blake said the boat had apparently been “completely upside down”, although it was closer to Duiker Island than Hout Bay Harbour and had not been visible to onlookers.

Newham-Blake said the sea was “choppy” because a southeaster was blowing and it had been difficult for rescue vessels to get close to the capsized boat.

She said residents had rallied around the survivors and the medics, bringing blankets and hot coffee to a central point at the harbour.

Lionel van der Schyff, from pleasure boat operator Nauticat, said he received an emergency call yesterday afternoon.

The capsized boat was not one of his vessels. “I rushed there and saw the boat in the water. At first I thought it had just broken down but it had actually overturned,” Van der Schyff told City Press.

“It was most likely due to weather because there are high waves out there and extremely strong winds.”

When Van der Schyff got out to sea, there were already several other boats.

“We helped three people. They were very tired. They didn’t look good.”

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