Umkomaas: Quick response saves the day as wall of water overturns boatFishermen’s lucky escape

2011-07-18 00:00

FIVE fishermen were lucky to escape serious injury on Friday when their fishing boat capsized in the surf at Umkomaas on the South Coast.

Rajen Singh (38), Benny Ridgus (48), Vernon Govender (34), Deven Lalldhew (16) and Keran Maharaj (15) were aboard the Black Fin, a recreational boat, when it was hit by a wall of water and overturned.

Singh, the skipper of the vessel said, “We launched at about 8.30 am and heard a rumbling noise. Both our engines cut out just before the back line and then we were hit by a wave.”

The wave overturned the boat and plunged the men into the water. They surfaced and flagged people on the shore.

“My son was on the shore watching us launch and then he saw that the boat had overturned.

“We were not far out so we were still visible to the people on the shore and started flagging them.”

Quick response from the local diving institutions saved the men from certain disaster.

A rescue boat and several 4 x 4s raced to their assistance and brought them to land before returning to the water to secure the drifting Black Fin with a rope.

“We are very grateful to all the guys who responded so quickly and came to our aid,” Singh said.

“They put their own safety at risk to come out to save us because the sea conditions were very rough at the time.”

Carol Oosthuizen of the Blue Vision Dive Centre, whose staff also helped in the rescue said, “We are very lucky here in Umkomaas because everybody always works together to help one another.

“From the diving guys to the fisherman and the boating guys, they all pitch in and assist whenever something like this happens.”

Netcare 911 paramedics and a police search-and-rescue were sent to the scene. Paramedics treated the fishermen on the beach for hypothermia.

A relieved Singh said: “Apart from Benny being trapped under the boat for about five minutes, we all escaped with minor injuries and we are thankful for that.”

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