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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

Drama on Cape’s high seas: Nine plucked from ocean, 11 still missing as trawler sinks

A massive search-and-rescue operation is under way after a fishing trawler sunk off the coast of Hout Bay.

 Fixed-wing aircraft and a helicopter are scouring the ocean at least 30 nautical miles off the coast of Hout Bay for 11 missing fisherman after the catastrophic sinking of their trawler on Friday afternoon.

According to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), a mayday call was intercepted on Friday, 17 May at 3.40pm, prompting rescue craft and other fishing vessels on the Atlantic Seaboard to respond. 

Five fishing boats were first to reach the scene, rescuing nine of the 20 local fishermen who were from one of the sunken trawler’s life rafts.

Hout Bay trawler tragedy: 11 fisherman still missing at sea

Three NSRI rescue craft have joined fishing vessels in an extensive search operation for the remaining 11 missing fishermen in three- to four-metre swells and 10 to 15 knot winds.

Both of the fishing trawler’s life rafts have since been recovered.

“Despite an extensive air and sea search, there remains no signs of 11 missing fishermen and a search operation is ongoing,” the NSRI said on Saturday. 

“Thoughts and care are with the fishermen’s families and the fishing company in this difficult time.”

The sea rescue body stated that the vessel was believed to have sunk, but the cause of the water ingress was unknown. 

  • This is a developing story.

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Human lives lost in Western Cape: George building collapse

This is the second major human catastrophe to happen this month in the Western Cape.

The collapse of an apartment building under construction in Victoria Street, in George on 6 May claimed 33 lives.

On Friday, the George Municipality announced that search-and-rescue efforts were now completed.

More than a thousand rescue, support, and volunteer workers were involved in the rescue operation which lasted 260 hours, with personnel working on a 24-hour basis.

George building collapse: Two more workers rescued, 39 unaccounted for
Search and rescue personnel on the site of the building collapse in George. Picture: Supplied/ George Municipality

According to the municipality’s latest update provided yesterday, 62 people were on the site when the building collapse occurred; 34 people were successfully rescued; 33 people passed away, including five people who were rescued, but later succumbed to their injuries in hospital.

ALSO READ: Avbob to bury George building collapse victims for free

Ten people are still in hospital and 19 people have either been discharged or received medical treatment on site.

The site has now been classified as a crime scene and has officially been handed over for a formal police investigation.

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