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Durban North sailor among four rescued by NSRI in the Eastern Cape

The Point Yacht Club members were returning from the completion of the Vasco da Gama Ocean Race when the incident occurred.

FOUR crew members, including a Durban North resident, were rescued on Saturday (May 25) by the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) near Port St Johns, Eastern Cape, after their sailing yacht collided with a submerged container at sea.

The crew members, three of whom are reportedly from Westville, had to abandon their sailing vessel into a life raft.

The Point Yacht Club members were returning from the completion of the Vasco da Gama Ocean Race, a race that sees competitors sail from Durban to East London.

Gert du Plessis, NSRI Port Edward station commander, said they were alerted that the yacht, Tipsy, was taking on water and sinking off-shore of the Eastern Cape Coastline (the former Transkei) in the vicinity of Rame Head near Umgazana.

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“On arrival at Port St Johns, the NSRI Port Edward rescue craft determined that the casualty sailing yacht and the casualty life raft had drifted in the overcast heavy-rain conditions, with up to 2m sea swells but fair seas and light northeasterly winds, south of Port St Johns, and they were at that stage in the vicinity of Coffee Bay – now some 79 nautical miles from Port Edward.

“NSRI rescue craft were warned to keep a look-out for the floating container and/or any further floating containers that may be in the area. It remains unknown where the floating container that caused the accident may have originated from – and that warning to vessels in that area remains valid – to be on the lookout and to proceed with caution based on the collision that occurred at sea,” he said.

All of the crew were safe and uninjured despite being a bit cold and thirsty.

Point Yacht Club’s Commodore Robin Hulley extended his thanks to the NSRI for the successful rescue operation through the club’s Facebook page.

“Thanks to the swift and professional response of several key parties, the crew were safely rescued and returned to shore in Port Edward. We wish to specifically acknowledge the race organisers for their vigilance and immediate action which ensured the safety of our sailors and the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI). Their dedication and expertise are invaluable. Their quick response undoubtedly prevented a potential tragedy. Thank you, especially, to the team based at Port Edward.”

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Hulley also thanked Hemraj Gokal and Barry Boorman for their efforts and coordination which were crucial in the success of this rescue mission.

The sailing yacht, Tipsy. Photo: Point Yacht Club Facebook page


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