Four Hermanus men adrift off Hermanus found after extensive search

 Following an extensive search by three NSRI sea rescue craft, plus an aerial search by a Red cross helicopter,  four men adrift on a rubber duck 12 nautical miles off-shore of Hermanus were found this afternoon, 11 August.

The men were uninjured and their rubber duck was towed to shore by the NSRI.

Picture by Graeme Watson, from the Skymed (AMS) Helicopter.

Picture by Graeme Watson, from the Skymed (AMS) Helicopter.

Henk Henn, NSRI Hermanus station commander, said it appears the men launched sometime last night but experienced motor mechanical failure. Then their anchor dragged until they were in deep water where they began drifting further out to sea without power. 

It also appears the rubber duck drifted in a south westerly direction about 14 nautical miles (26 km) from where they first lost motor power.

The NSRI duty crew were activated at 5 am this morning following reports of that the men who hail from Hawston were offshore of Hangklip. “Our NSRI Hermanus duty crew launched our sea rescue craft South Star and Hunters Gold Rescuer and a search was initiated.

“It soon became clear that the men, despite remaining in cellphone contact with us, had no idea how far out to sea they were or in which direction they were drifting,” Henn said.  

After an extensive search and when sign of them could be found by 9 am, NSRI Gordons Bay duty crew launched their sea rescue craft to join Hermanus crew in the search. “The WC Government Health EMS was placed on alert.

At 11 am the Red Cross AMS Skymed 1 rescue helicopter was activated to join in the search and the Transnet National Ports Authority placed an SA Air Force 22 Squadron Oryx helicopter on alert.

“At midday the men reported to be close to ships at sea in the shipping lanes and this helped us to narrow the search area and at 12.45 pm the four men were found and rescued off-shore of Hermanus.  The men are aged 32, 16, 35 and 37. 

“They are exhausted. They slept for most of the trip back to shore and we reached Hermanus harbour at 3.10 pm this afternoon. The men were reunited with their concerned families and friends.

“The men were found with no life-jackets or safety equipment onboard and they claim this had all been blown overboard during their ordeal,” Henn added.

NSRI continues to urge boaters and paddlers to wear life-jackets at all times while on water, carry red distress flares, carry a hand held GPS (Global Positioning Device), and a referee whistle, and a CD disc (to use with the sun as a reflector), and silver emergency blankets (they fold up into a palm sized packet), and a cell phone or VHF radio in water tight sleeves and batteries fully charged, and a water proof torch and let a responsible person know your launch time, your intended route and a return time and stick to your plans.

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