Cape to Rio paddle boat crew rescued

Cape Town – A woman and her son were rescued on Saturday after they failed to paddle a boat from Cape Town to Brazil, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said.  

The 50-year-old woman from Durban and her 27-year-old son from Cape Town had reportedly departed from the Royal Cape Yacht Club, intending to paddle to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

On Friday afternoon, NSRI Bakoven launched the sea rescue craft Rotarian Schipper on a request to deliver a tracking device to the paddle boat “Herbivore”, said NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon in a statement.

"In rough sea conditions the tracking device, which they had apparently mistakenly left behind, was delivered to the paddle boat in Table Bay and they continued on their voyage.”

On Saturday, the woman's husband asked NSRI Yzerfontein to launch a search for the boat as their tracking system appeared to show them adrift 10 nautical miles off-shore.

While NSRI Yzerfontein was placed on alert, no formal distress had been called by the paddle boat, Lambinon said.

He said the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) also placed a SA Air Force 22 Squadron Dakota aircraft on alert, but with still no formal distress call from the crew on board the paddle boat, no further action was immediately necessary.

“Later on Saturday afternoon NSRI Table Bay was activated following a request for assistance from the two crew on the paddle boat reporting that the 50-year-old female was suffering severe motion sickness.”

In rough seas and strong winds NSRI Table Bay launched the sea rescue craft Spirit of Vodacom to rendezvous with the paddle boat 10 nautical miles off-shore of Bokpunt, between Melkbosstrand and Grotto Bay.

Lambinon said on arrival, the mother and her son were taken off their boat onto the sea rescue craft and attempts were made to tow the paddle boat.

Meanwhile, in the rough sea conditions the towing effort was hampered and the boat was towed to a sheltered anchorage at Dassen Island and left there, while the mother and her son were brought safely to port in Table Bay.

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