Three men drowned in the sea in the Kleinmond area, about 90km east of Cape Town between Betty’s Bay and Hermanus, after their boat apparently capsized offshore some time during the night, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said on Saturday.
NSRI Kleinmond duty crew were activated at 7.11 am on Saturday morning following reports of a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) washed ashore about 4km from Kleinmond and believed to have capsized during the night, NSRI Kleinmond station commander Schalk Boonzaaier said in a statement.
The NSRI Kleinmond sea rescue craft Jaytee III and Rescue 42 Alpha were launched and the NSRI Hermanus sea rescue craft South Star and Rotarian Burnett were diverted from a training exercise to join in the search, he said.
A sea and shoreline search commenced for what was initially believed to be four missing men. NSRI Gordons Bay duty crew and NSRI Airborne Sea Rescue (ASR) rescue swimmers were placed on alert. The South African Police Service (SAPS), Western Cape emergency medical services (EMS), and Overberg municipal fire and rescue services were also activated.
“The casualty RHIB was located by rescue authorities where it had washed up on the beach. During the search it was confirmed that only three men, believed to be from Hawston, had been on the boat during the night. Sadly, the body of one of the missing men was located and secured on the beach near to where the casualty boat was found,” Boonzaaier said.
NSRI rescue swimmers waded into the surf in that same vicinity and, while rescue swimmers conducted sweeping line search efforts in the surfline, the sea rescue craft continued in a sea search.
During an ongoing search, the bodies of the remaining two missing men were located and recovered. The body of one the men was located floating in the surfline and was recovered onto the beach by NSRI rescue swimmers, while the other was located floating in the surfline and recovered onto a sea rescue craft and brought to shore. The bodies were located a distance apart from each other along the shoreline.
The three men had been declared deceased by paramedics and they were confirmed to be the men who had been reported missing.
Police had opened an inquest docket and condolences were conveyed to the families of the deceased men, Boonzaaier said.
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