Seven hours: Diver waits for rescue

2013-02-27 00:00

A DIVER who went missing yesterday morning was found in the afternoon, after drifting for more than seven hours in the rough seas off the South Coast.

Dive master for a diving company, Jean-Pierre Els (30) from Uvongo, in the South Coast, went missing at around 8 am at Shelly Beach.

He was 12 kilometres off shore of Shelly beach at Protea Banks when he got swept away while conducting a group charter dive.

The National Sea Rescue Institute Shelly Beach station commander Mark Harlen said Els was located by the Transnet National Ports Authority rescue helicopter yesterday at around 3.20 pm, off the shore of Port Edward, which was about 45 kilometres from where he originally went missing.

Harlen said Els got separated from the dive charter group while diving. When he surfaced from the dive he had no sight of the dive charter boat.

“He drifted for over seven hours in the two- to three-metre rough sea swell and a 30 knot wind until he was found. An NSRI rescue swimmer was deployed into the water from the rescue helicopter to secure the diver, who was then airlifted to our Shelly Beach rescue base,” he said.

Harlen explained that although Els was exhausted, dehydrated and had experienced some sunburn, he did not need to be hospitalised.

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