A ‘mystery’ man was found paddling on a tiny swimming pool inflatable dinghy using a garden rake as an oar, 1 nautical mile off-shore of the Mouille Point Lighthouse in the Western Cape of South Africa yesterday evening.
The man who was towed to shore by a boating club member was unable to answer questions and for his own safety police took him away for safe keeping. It was feared he might go back to sea otherwise.
Johnny Albert, NSRI Bakoven deputy station commander, said at 4.40 pm, NSRI Bakoven duty crew were placed on alert by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) that requested NSRI investigate reports of a lone paddler on a dingy marked Explorer 200, off shore of Green Point, who according to eye-witnesses appeared to be ‘acting suspiciously’ and may be in difficulty.
A few boats had come across the man who ignored offers of assistance and appeared unfit or ill equipped to be at sea.
NSRI Bakoven duty crew launched the sea rescue craft Rotarian Schipper and police sea borderline officers officers responded to the Oceana Power Boat Club (OPBC). NSRI found that a private boat from OPBC found the paddler and towed him to the club where they were met by bemused Police and NSRI Bakoven rescuers.
“It is unknown where the man is from although one of the few words he spoke to police was that of ‘Simonstown’ ”, Albert said. “But he appeared to be unable to answer where he had come from or where he was going and it remains a mystery.
“It has been suggested that he may have been a stow-away who may have jumped ship in Table Bay. Or perhaps he’s a gardener just out for an evening paddle.”
Albert said police have not yet told NSRI if they have managed to get to the bottom of the mystery. Anyone who can identify the paddler (see photo from NSRI) or who may know where the small dinghy and garden rake may have come from , should contact the police.
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