3 hurt as yacht strikes whale near Fish Hoek

2015-09-26 22:42
The damaged boat is docked after a whale struck it in Fish Hoek. (Supplied, NSRI)

The damaged boat is docked after a whale struck it in Fish Hoek. (Supplied, NSRI)

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Cape Town - Three people were injured when their yacht struck a whale near Fish Hoek on Saturday.

NSRI Simon’s Town station commander Darren Zimmerman said its duty crew was activated after reports of distress were received from the False Bay Yacht Club of the 35-foot yacht Bad Habit, with 7 crew members on board, which had made the call at about 12:15.

The yacht, which was taking part in the annual FBYC Spring Regatta, reported to be taking water and sinking one nautical mile off-shore of Fish Hoek.

"The yacht had struck a whale accidentally while sailing at about 13 knots – or 24km/h - causing the transom mounted rudder to be ripped off the yacht, leaving a hole about half a meter wide below stern deck and causing a sudden and massive inflow of water,” Zimmerman said in a statement.

The yacht crew reacted by using life-jackets, sails, seat cushions and “whatever loose bits and pieces of the yacht they could to plug the hole to stem the ingress of water”.

“It seems even their own bodies were used in their efforts to plug the hole that had been caused. Crew also bailed water using buckets.

"On our arrival on the scene we took the yacht under tow and, with the forward movement of the yacht further assisting to stem the water ingress, the seven yacht crew stayed onboard to continue their bold efforts to plug the hole and to continue to bail water.”

At the Simon’s Town harbour, water pumps were used to extricate more water from the boat and a 44 gallon drum was positioned on the bow of the yacht and filled with water to weigh the front of the yacht down and help to keep the yacht stern out of the water, Zimmerman said.

A carry lift then hoisted the yacht out of the water.

A woman was treated for hypothermia and near drowning after swallowing water while stemming the inflow of water through a hole in the yacht, another crew member was treated for soft tissue injuries and another sustained a minor injury of a cut to the lip, caused by a tow line. The rest of the crew were uninjured.

"It was revealed that [on Friday] the same yacht had struck a whale while sailing," Zimmerman added.

Read more on:    cape town  |  maritime

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