UK sailor, 82, rescued near Richards Bay

2014-10-18 14:37

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Johannesburg - An 82-year-old British solo sailor was rescued near Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said on Saturday.

NSRI Richards Bay station commander Dorian Robertson said Mike Bickell sent out a distress call on Friday after he was struggling to make headway in his 34 foot yacht because of a severe storm.

"It appears that the sailor had neared a rocky part of the coastline, off-shore of Dawsons Rocks, and [due to] some steering damage and sail damage caused by the storm, and exhaustion from battling through rough seas, the solo sailor had requested assistance."

An NSRI rescue craft was launched.

"On arrival on-scene, in up to eight meter rough sea swells and a gusting... wind, attempts were made to pass a tow-line to the casualty but it became apparent that the solo sailor was not able to attach the tow-line to his yacht himself due to some exhaustion," Robertson said.

A rescue swimmer then swam out to the yacht and attached the tow line so that the vessel could be towed back. The vessel arrived at the Richards Bay port at 22:00.

"Mike... gave heartfelt thanks to rescue swimmer Hillegard Holthauzen for the gallant swim across to his yacht in the very rough seas to attach the tow-line and then staying with him on the yacht throughout the ordeal," Robertson said.

"In his own words, Mike said to please give a special thanks to 'James Bond for diving into the raging seas to come over and help me'."

Read more on:    nsri  |  durban  |  search and rescue

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