1 dead, 8 missing at sea as fishing boat capsizes near Cape St Francis

2017-07-16 13:47


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Johannesburg - Eight men are still missing after their fishing vessel capsized in the Cape St Francis area of the Eastern Cape, the NSRI said on Sunday. 

"At this stage, there is one fishermen recovered and confirmed to be deceased, seven survivors recovered, of which six have been hospitalised and reported to be in stable conditions, and eight crew who are missing," said the National Sea Rescue Institute’s spokesperson Craig Lambinon in a statement.

He said that, in the early hours of Sunday morning, red distress flares were seen by various chokka fishing vessels off-shore of Thyspoint. 

They then alerted maritime rescue officials. 

Two of the vessels also went to investigate and confirmed that another chokka fishing vessel, called the Maredon, had capsized. The Maredon was confirmed to have had 16 crew on board at the time of the accident. 

One of the vessels came upon a life raft  during their searches. However, it had drifted too close to rocks and could not be reached.

The other vessel was able to recover one Maredon survivor from the water. He was later taken to hospital in a stable condition. 

Meanwhile, the NSRI launched its sea rescue craft amidst high swells and heavy winds. Other rescue officials - including the police, provincial health emergency services, private ambulances and security companies - also embarked on the search and a rescue helicopter was also launched. 

"Shore patrols and a sea and air search continued," said Lambinon. 

Waves roll vessel over

The body of one of the fishermen who had been aboard the Maredon, along with five survivors, was found on shore in the vicinity of Sunset Rocks. 

The Maredon was also found capsized and "hard aground" at Sunset Rocks. 

During high tide, the surf conditions prevented rescuers from approaching and the waves caused the vessel to roll over a few times. 

"One survivor was witnessed climbing out of the vessel and NSRI rescue swimmers waded into the water and rescued the survivor." 

He was then airlifted to hospital in a stable condition. 

"Efforts are underway to breach the hull of the boat as the tide recedes, and a search and rescue operation continues."

Police have opened an inquest docket, while the SA Maritime Safety Authority is launching an investigation. 


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