Five rescued from sinking yacht

2010-06-15 10:49

Five people, including a pregnant woman, were rescued from a

sinking yacht off Quoin Point in the Western Cape.

George Pearson (68), Petrus Strydom (35), Greg Straud (18), skipper

Lars Strydom (38), and Christine Phelan (42), who is four-months pregnant, were

treated for shock and hypothermia, National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Agulhas

station commander Shane Kempen said in a statement.

(Lars) Strydom had not wanted to be taken off the 12-metre yacht,

Kempen said.

Describing the vessel as his life, Lars told rescuers that he had

put his life saving into it and had lived aboard the yacht for four years.

“... He was left with no choice,” said Kempen.

Lars and his passengers had been sailing from Hout Bay to Port

Elizabeth, but were swept landward when the yacht’s rudder was damaged and its

drogue lost, Kempen said, explaining that a drogue was used to slow down a

vessel’s speed of drift.

They asked for urgent assistance, and at 11.42pm yesterday the

Transnet National Ports Authority activated the NSRI Agulhas. Rescuers arrived

at 3am this morning.

“The casualty yacht was 1.5 nautical miles off-shore of Quoin

Point, and was steadily being driven towards land by the gusting winds and sea

swells... which reached seven metres with up to 45 knot gusting winds,” said

Kempen, adding that the five were rescued and taken to the NSRI rescue base to

rest. The yacht was still adrift at sea on Tuesday (today), but efforts would be

made to salvage it before it runs aground.

Vessels in the vicinity of Quoin Point and Agulhas had been warned

of the danger.

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