Three Paternoster fishermen lost at sea found after helicopter search
Caption: One of the missing fishermen being swum to safety by an NSRI Mykonos rescue swimmer
Three fishermen who were lost and adrift at sea when the motor of their crayfish dinghy failed were found after a helicopter search in the Mykonos area of the Western Cape coast this week.
Earlier and extensive searches on the sea by NSRI Mykonos volunteer duty crew were unsuccessful in locating the men. The helicopter search eventually found the trio 6.4 nautical miles off-shore of Veldrift on 1 December.
Casper Frylinck, NSRI Mykonos station commander, said just after midnight on 1 December, NSRI Mykonos was called by family of the men who reported the men, all from Paternoster, had failed to return home from a fishing trip the night before. The fishermen were suspected to be on a 5 meter Crayfish Dinghy off-shore between Veldrift and Elands Bay.
When family members eventually manged to reach the missing men by cell phone, the latter said they were lost on their boat. adrift at sea.
At 5 am NSRI Mykonos duty crew were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) to begin a search grid pattern by MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre). Communications were assisted by Telkom Maritime Radio Services. The SAP joined in the search and concerned family members were comforted.
NSRI Mykonos launched the sea rescue craft Gemini rescuer II at Veldrift. They searched towards Elands Bay and back towards Veldrift but no sign of the fishermen could be found. On making contact with the fishermen by cellophane it appeared the fishermen had lost direction and could not pinpoint where they were.
MRCC then authorised an SA Air Force 22 Squadron Oryx helicopter, accompanied by NSRI ASR rescue swimmers, to search as well and the trio were then spotted from the helicopter.
NSRI rescue swimmers were deployed from the helicopter into the water and in relays all three fishermen, a 24 year-old skipper and his two 26 year-old crewmen, were hoisted into the helicopter. The trio were airlifted to shore and then transported by NSRI to Paternoster where they were reunited with their relieved families.
They were uninjured. The NSRI Mykonos sea rescue craft towed the casualty boat to Paternoster and no further assistance was required.
All services involved were commended for the effort employed to successfully find all three fishermen.
Edited by St Francis Chronicle