Sunday, 14 October 2012

SEA RESCUE – HOUT BAY – Saturday, 13th October, 2012. Charter Boat Capsizes 1 passenger deceased and 1 crewman missing and 36 safe

Brad Geyser, NSRI Hout Bay, said:

At 14h22 (Saturday, 13th October) NSRI Hout Bay volunteer sea rescue duty crew were activated following reports of the local 10 meter Hangberg Charters charter boat Miroshga capsized at Duiker Island near Hout Bay with multiple casualties reported to be involved.

It was initially unclear the number of people onboard with conflicting reports of between 34 and 50 passengers.

Our NSRI Hout Bay, Bakoven and Table Bay volunteer sea rescue duty crews launched sea rescue craft and responded and the WC Government Health EMS, Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services, the SA Police Force, a Police Dive Unit and Netcare 911 ambulance services, ER24 ambulance services, Hout Bay Volunteer EMS, EMT (Emergency Medical Treatment and Training), CCRS (Critical Care Retrieval System), CMR (Cape Medical Response), Ronin, the Red Cross Air Mercy Services EMS Skymed helicopter and local Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch and members of the Hout Bay Security WatchCon responded.

A JOC (Joint Operations Command) was set up on scene and included commanders from all services involved and senior police officers from the Police Provincial Commissioners office.

The SA Navy and the SA Air Force were placed on alert.

On arrival on-scene it was found that some survivors had been rescued by the charter boat Nauticat and by the charter boat Extravagant. "Additional persons in peril, some found in the water and some found clinging onto the hull of the upturned boat, were rescued out of the water by NSRI rescue boats.

All were brought to shore and treated by paramedics on-scene before some were transported to various hospitals around Cape Town.

34 people were rescued initially, they were males and females, adults and children. 1 of these 34 people, a male, was confirmed to be deceased on arrival at Hout Bay NSRI sea rescue station.

At that stage it was believed that up to 6 people were missing and this number was later revised to 4 people still missing and it was confirmed that 38 people had been on the boat when it capsized.

Of the 4 missing people 3, all females, were rescued from inside the hull of the upturned boat by Police divers and EMS divers.

Initially EMS Divers rescued a female, from inside the hull of the boat where EMS divers using scuba diving gear swam under the hull and reached the female who was using an air pocket inside the hull and who was discovered after NSRI and EMS rescuers had communicated with the female by tapping on the outside of the upturned hull and received a return tapping from the female who was inside the hull.
She, a South African, was brought out by the EMS divers using breathing apparatus to swim her under and out of the upturned boat. She was surfaced at approximately 16h15 and had been trapped inside the hull since the boat capsized at around 14h15.

Then on further investigation, and deeper inside the hull of the upturned boat, Police divers came across two females, both believed to be from the United Kingdom, (one from Wales), trapped deep inside the hull and who were also using air pockets to breath.

A police diver gave his breathing apparatus to one female who suffers from chronic asthma. That police diver swam out of the upturned hull without breathing apparatus and returned with fresh sets of breathing apparatus for himself and one for the remaining trapped female.

The police divers then had to coach the two females and encourage and counsel them to take off their life-jackets which were making them too buoyant to be successfully swum out from under the upturned boat to be freed.

After much coaching and encouragement and despite one female refusing to shed her life-jacket the police divers, after coaching the females on some emergency dive training, were both successfully brought out by the police divers to safety.

All 3 females were transported to hospital in critical conditions.

These 3 females who were rescued from inside of the capsized boat had been trapped inside the hull of the boat since it capsized at around 14h15. One was rescued at approximately 16h15 and the remaining two at approximately 17h50.

It has come to light, following all investigations and a final tally of all survivors that only one local Hout Bay man, who was one of the crew members of the charter boat, remains missing and all others are accounted for. (It was initially thought, by last light, that as many as three persons were still missing but on intensive investigation and cooperation between services that number was reduced to only one still missing).

Of the survivors 4 were children, 2 males and 2 females.

24 of the survivors have been transported to hospital with injuries ranging from serious to minor (although the majority are minor injuries).

The body of the deceased man, who is believed to be from the United Kingdom, has been handed into the care of the Forensic Pathology Services.

12 survivors did not require to be hospitalized although they were assessed, treated for hypothermia and released.

All survivors were treated for hypothermia on the scene before some (a total of 24) were transported to hospitals.

The NSRI are aware of South Africans, United Kingdom citizens and French Citizens who were onboard and are still trying to determine if there were passengers of other nationalities. (The deceased man is believed to be from the United Kingdom and the missing man is from Hout Bay).

A search operation for the 1 remaining missing person, who is a crew member of the charter boat, will resume at first light and will involve NSRI Hout Bay, Police divers and EMS divers and the Red Cross Air Mercy Services EMS Skymed helicopter. The SA Navy have volunteered a Navy boat with Navy divers to stand-by on-scene to assist in the ongoing search from first light.

During the rescue operation additional blankets were sought through Hout Bay's Watch Con and these blankets were delivered expeditiously. Then additional medical personnel were requested to assist in comforting survivors who were not too seriously injured and almost immediately from retired nurses to new basic first aiders arrived to lend assistance.

All survivors received counseling.

The Atlantic Boat Club and Ikhaya Coffee Bar in Hout Bay harbour provided extensive hot drinks to survivors (to assist in their re-warming) and to rescuers alike.

SAMSA (The South African Maritime Safety Authority) will investigate the cause of the incident and the Salvage vessel Smit Amandla is on-scene to conduct a forensic salvage operation on behalf of SAMSA.

Police have opened an inquest docket.


Released by:

Craig Lambinon
Sea Rescue Communications

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