Stricken yacht missing off KZN coast
Johannesburg - Rescue craft were searching on Monday for a 42-foot catamaran in trouble off the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said.
"The vessel has a rope fouled around one propeller, making one of her two motors unusable, a torn sail, and an overheated second motor," said NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon.
Three members of the six-person crew of the Tholile were severely dehydrated after prolonged seasickness. The crew, all from Durban, comprised five men and one woman.
Rescuers believed the yacht had drifted far south as a result of a 25-knot south-easterly wind and was caught in the south-flowing Agulhas current. She was drifting in a 4m swell and had sprung a leak which the crew had stemmed.
On Monday, she was 40 nautical miles offshore, south of Port Edward.
Rescuers were however battling to find her, and it was thought her GPS system was faulty.
The NSRI Shelly Beach and NSRI Port Edward were out on Monday with two rescue craft searching for the vessel.
"Our priority is to get floating rescue craft to her side and to render some medical assistance to the three seasick crew members," Lambinon said.
NSRI Durban had launched its deep-sea rescue craft loaded with extra supplies.
Mark Harlen, NSRI Shelly Beach station commander and operations commander for this rescue operation, said a major rescue was underway.
"NSRI volunteers have been summoned to their respective sea rescue bases to assist in manning the NSRI control rooms should the operation continue into Monday evening," he said.