Safety of capsized boat questioned

2012-10-15 07:32
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Hout Bay boat capsizes

Two people have died after a charter boat capsized neat Duiker Island off Cape Town’s Hout Bay coast over the weekend. See all the pictures.

Cape Town - Two people have died after a charter boat capsized near Duiker Island off Cape Town’s Hout Bay coast over the weekend.

A TimesLive report states that, though the family of deck-hand John Roberts hailed the drowned sailor as a hero, the safety of the Miroshga whale-watching charter boat is being questioned.

Hennie Reid spoke of his nephew by saying, “He was a people's person. He gave his life jacket to someone else and lost his life to save a life."

The provincial head of the SA Maritime Safety Authority, Dave Colly, has said a thorough investigation into the capsizing would be launched.

"We need to see [the Miroshga] and rip it apart and see what went wrong," said Colly.

"It is very important to find out what sequence of events led to that situation because it need not have happened. There are supposed to be several levels of safety so that even if one fails you're still okay."

Colly would not comment on reports that Roberts gave his life jacket to a child passenger but he said that ascertaining the number of life jackets available on the Miroshga would be part of the investigation.

According to the charter boat website, the vessel was "fitted with 42 individual high-backed chairs, and a toilet and observation/photographic platform. A qualified/registered skipper and whale specialist guide are in charge of the vessel."

The boat capsized while carrying a reported 39 passengers aboard.

Along with Roberts, 37, a British tourist Peter Phillip Hyett, 64, also drowned in the tragic incident. Hyett was on holiday in South Africa with his wife Suzanne Linda Hyett, 49, and his daughter Helen Hyett, 37.

Both the mother and daughter have since been discharged from hospital.

The family had been in the country since 1 October and where on the last day of their holiday.

Spokesperson Wilfred Solomons-Johannes said the City of Cape Town would help arrange accommodation for the Hyetts’ stay until necessary arrangements are finalised in respect of repatriating the remains.

Another two British citizens that were trapped in the hull of the boat for almost four hours, were rescued late on Saturday night.

Bronwyn Armstrong and Lynette Hartmann have also both been discharged from hospital.

Of those rescued, twelve people did not require hospitalisation and were assessed and treated for hypothermia before they were released.

The SA Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has deployed a tug boat to recover the charter boat and begin an investigation into the cause of the accident.

Read more on:    nsri  |  cape town  |  travel south africa  |  maritime

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