Successful search for two men on a RIB off Macassar, Cape Town
At 10h56, on 7 August 2019, National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) received unconfirmed reports of two fishermen suspected to be in difficulty adrift at sea off-shore of Macassar on a rigid inflatable boat (RIB). City of Cape Town Law Enforcement Officers had located a boat washed ashore at Macassar. Local fishermen informed the Law Enforcement Officers that two men from that boat had left the scene by road and that a second boat had been seen adrift off Macassar during the early hours of the morning with two men on board. Some eye-witnesses believed that second boat adrift may have capsized when the boat drifted out of their sight in dense fog and in a direction out to sea in the North Westerly off-shore wind.
The Law Enforcement Officers alerted NSRI. Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) activated a search and rescue operation.
NSRI Simon’s Town launched two sea rescue craft, NSRI Gordon’s Bay launched a sea rescue craft and dispatched a sea rescue vehicle, NSRI Kleinmond dispatched a sea rescue vehicle. Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services dispatched their rescue dive units to Macassar and to the Gordon’s Bay NSRI base and a Fire Dive Unit rescue boat was launched at Gordon’s Bay harbour and joined in the search. Western Cape Government Health EMS dispatched their rescue squad.
The EMS/AMS Skymed rescue helicopter and NSRI Airborne Sea Rescue were placed on alert. Telkom Maritime Radio Services assisted with marine radio communications. NSRI Hermanus were placed on alert.
One the Law Enforcement Officers conducting further investigations in conjunction with NSRI, learned that the outstanding RIB and two men, one from Grassy Park and one from the Strand, aged 44 and 20, were last seen off-shore between Macassar and Strand adrift at sea at approximately 5h00 on Wednesday morning.
An extensive sea and shoreline search and rescue operation moving in the direction towards Kleinmond and beyond was underway when eye-witnesses in Pringle Bay saw a seven metre RIB with men on board appearing to be waving for help and drifting towards the shoreline.
At that time NSRI sea rescue craft and the joint rescue teams were conducting extensive sea and shoreline search patterns in the vicinity and all resources responded to Pringle Bay. Arriving on scene, it was confirmed to be the missing men and their RIB.
Their boat washed aground on rocks and both men were assisted to safety.
They were treated on the scene by Fire and Rescue Services paramedics and by NSRI medics and were taken to a local clinic for medical attention for shock and mild hypothermia. They are fine and will fully recover.
Where they had washed onto the rocks NSRI and the joint emergency services searching for them were approximately half an hour behind them indicating that we would have caught up to them in a relatively short space of time according to our planned and plotted search and rescue search grid and search area.
NSRI commended all involved who contributed positively to the successful outcome, returning these fishermen to their families who were emotional but delighted with the news of them being found safe.