Heroic skipper freed British tourist trapped in capsized catamaran off Cape Town

2018-11-27 12:06
NSRI on the scene after a catamaran capsized in Table Bay, Cape Town. (NSRI)

NSRI on the scene after a catamaran capsized in Table Bay, Cape Town. (NSRI)

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The heroic efforts of the skipper of a sunset cruise catamaran, which capsized in Table Bay, probably saved the life of a British tourist who was trapped in the galley, it emerged on Tuesday.

The catamaran, which was returning to the harbour, capsized on Monday evening at the breakwater entrance to Table Bay Port.

PICS: Catamaran capsizes outside Cape Town harbour

National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) spokesperson Craig Lambinon said they had been able to launch two sea rescue craft immediately after the call came in just before 19:00.

The rescue team found three local crew members and five British tourists, all wearing lifejackets, on the upturned hull of the boat.

Lambinon said it subsequently emerged that a British woman had been below deck when the accident happened.

"...she was trapped in the galley where water was rising as the cabin filled with water, causing a fast diminishing air pocket that had provided some relief," he said.

"From what we understand, we believe that the skipper of the catamaran had free-dived under the catamaran after she capsized and he was able to bring the mom out from below decks."

The NSRI commended the skipper for his efforts.

Those on board were treated for mild hypothermia. Lambinon said one woman had fractured her shoulder.

NSRI Table Bay station commander Quentin Botha said the tourists were bruised and shaken up by the ordeal, but full of praise for everyone who assisted them.

The catamaran was towed to Granger Bay and secured. Lights were secured to the boat to prevent ships and sea traffic from colliding with it.

The scene of the accident (Supplied)

(Pics: Supplied)

'Imperative that all of our visitors are safe'

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) will investigate what led to the boat capsizing.

Kevin Knight, who owns the catamaran, told News24 on Tuesday that he was awaiting the outcome of the investigation, and that their focus at the moment was getting the boat out of the water.

The operators of the boat did not offer comment and said they would release a statement at a later stage.

The scene of the accident (Supplied)

Economic Opportunities MEC Beverley Schafer said she would be following up.

"I would like to request a full report as to the cause of the accident so that we are assured that all standard operating procedures and safety precautions were undertaken during the trip."

She said boat tourism was a popular pastime in the Western Cape and it was thus vital that the highest standards were followed.

"As we enter the busy tourist season, it’s imperative that all of our visitors are safe. We appeal to tour operators to ensure all safety measures are in place. We also remind visitors that it is a good idea to save emergency numbers in their phones," she said.

Visitors can contact the department's tourist safety and support programme on 082 554 2010 or on info@tourismsafety.co.za. 

The scene of the accident (Supplied)

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