Search for missing woman scaled down

2015-06-22 12:21
The yacht, Oryx, home to Pete and Carly Hill, who were sailing to Madagascar when Carly went missing.

The yacht, Oryx, home to Pete and Carly Hill, who were sailing to Madagascar when Carly went missing. (Facebook)

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THE search for 58-year-old Carly Hill, who went missing from a yacht six nautical miles off-shore of the Tugela River mouth on Friday last week, has been scaled down.

Her husband, Peter, who was forced to come in closer to shore to get signal to raise the alarm after realising his wife was missing, ignored National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) advice to return to shore.

“He was adamant that he was not going to leave the search area, even though it was not safe to stay at anchor,” said Craig Lambinon, spokesperson for the NSRI.

The catamaran, Oryx, from which Carly disappeared has since docked in Durban. Peter is believed to be staying with family.

The couple left the Port of Durban on Thursday last week and were sailing to Madagascar when tragedy struck, somewhere between Durban and Richards Bay.

Lambinon said: “The skipper raised the alarm [on Friday] reporting that he had been asleep and when he awoke his wife was missing off their yacht. Despite an initial search the skipper found no sign of his wife.”

Peter, who is originally from the United Kingdom, and Carly, who grew up in East London, were sailing from Durban to Madagascar. The couple live in the Western Cape.

In a post on her Facebook page, Carly said: “Oryx is setting sail for Madagascar tomorrow. We will be taking the scenic route via the Mozambique channel islands and will be off the ethernet for a while. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.”

The NSRI Durban and Richards Bay spent two days looking for Carly, working alongside a Natal Sharks Board fixed wing aircraft, Durban and Richards Bay Transnet Port Authority rescue helicopters, rescue swimmers and an SA Air Force 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter.

Lambinon said: “The search operation focused on sea drift, prevailing currents and wind speed and direction, taking into account that at some time during the morning of Friday, while on routine watch, Mrs Hill fell overboard. Despite an extensive ongoing search operation there remains no sign of Mrs Hill.”

Yesterday, the Police Search and Rescue unit took over the operation, but they have since scaled back the search.

Brigadier Vish Naidoo said the police had alerted all ships and boats off the KZN coast to keep a look-out for Carly and that search and rescue was monitoring the coastline between Durban and Umhlanga.

At the time of going to press Carly had still not been found.

Her son, Dylan du Preez, is among those frantic for news. He posted on Facebook: “My Mom Carly Hill is currently lost at sea. The NSRI is searching for her as well as Pete Hill. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. Let’s hope they find her.”

A missing persons investigation has been opened and the SA Maritime Safety Authority has been informed

Read more on:    durban  |  search and rescue

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