NSRI Hermanus locate body of man missing in boat tragedy
NSRI Hermanus located and recovered the body believed to be of one of two missing men after a boat capsized yesterday, 23 September, off-shore of Kleinmond
Four men hanging onto the capsized boat, Aralda III , were found by the NSRI yesterday offshore of Kleinmond . The skipper reported two of his crew were still missing.
The NSRI found the body while responding to a police request following reports from fishermen of a body floating 2.5 nautical miles off-shore between Kleinmond and Hawston.
NSRI Hermanus volunteer sea rescue duty crew launched their sea rescue craft Le Jenmar II and recovered the body soon after 10.30 am today, and brought it to Kleinmond harbour where it was handed over to the police and forensic pathology services.
A positive identification of the recovered body is being arranged with family members by police. An inquest docket has been opened by police.
A Police dive unit is continuing to search for the remaining crew man missing since yesterday. Local fishermen have been requested to keep a lookout for the man, who it is feared, may have drowned.
Recounting the events of yesterday, NSRI Hermanus station commander, Henk Henn, said the NSRI was activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority following eye-witness reports of red distress flares sighted deep-sea off-shore of Kleinmond, between Hermanus and Gordons Bay.
NSRI conducted a search and at 5 pm a boat trailer and vehicle were found at the Hangklip slip way and details on the boat trailer referred rescuers to the fishing boat Aralda III. However, all attempts to reach the crew of the boat by cellphone failed. It was suspected this vessel may be related to the red distress flares.
Friends of Aralda III confirmed to NSRI where the fishing grounds were. With dusk approaching the WC Government Health EMS activated the Red Cross AMS Skymed helicopter to join in the search in order to make best use of the remaining daylight.
At 6.42 pm the deep sea rescue craft and NSRI coast watchers posted along the Kleinmond and Hangklip shoreline spotted a hand held red distress flare 3 nautical miles off-shore of Kleinmond. The sea rescue craft South Star went to the scene and found four men clinging to the upturned hull of the capsized boat .
The men were rescued and brought to shore at Kleinmond slip-way where they were treated for exhaustion and hypothermia. The skipper related yesterday that two of his crew were still missing at sea.
The rescued men, skipper Phillip Schoeman, 53, his son Phillip, 27, Alwyn du Plooy, 41, from the Strand, and Joe Williams, 61, from Brackenfell, reported they launched at Hangklip. While fishing they had capsized at 10 am .
They then set off 10 red distress flares. Their cellphones and radio communications were lost in the sea when the boat overturned. As night fell they set off their last hand held red distress flare that was fortunately seen by rescuers.
According to the skipper earlier in the day one of his crewmen, a 55 year old male, from Strand, had left the capsized boat to try to swim ashore 3 nautical miles away. Later on one of his crew man, 54 years old from the Strand, had drifted away from the boat.
He appeared to the others to be deceased at the time. It is suspected that he may have succumbed to hypothermia..
The names of the deceased man and the still missing man are not being released until family members have been informed.
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