Monday, 25 March 2013

SEA RESCUE – NOORDHOEK – Sunday, 24th March, 2012. 20 Pilot Whales Beach

Tom Coetzee, NSRI Kommetjie station commander, said:

"At 07h43, Sunday, 24th March, NSRI volunteer sea rescue duty crews from Sea Rescue stations in Kommetjie, Hout Bay, Simonstown, Strandfontein, Bakoven and Table Bay were activated following reports of 20 Pilot whales beached at Noordhoek Beach, Noordhoek, (between Hout Bay and Kommetjie), in Cape Town.

"Our NSRI volunteer sea rescue duty crew launched sea rescue craft from Kommetjie and from Hout Bay and NSRI rescuers responded and the City of Cape Town Disaster Management, The Department of Environmental Affairs – Oceans and Coasts, the SPCA, Law Enforcement, Law Enforcement Marine Unit, Table Mountain National Park Rangers, the SA Police Services, Police Sea Border Line, Cape Town Traffic, 2 Veterinary Surgeons and various marine agency volunteers were activated to respond.

"The WC Government Health EMS, Police Divers and the SA Navy were placed on alert.

"Private companies and private volunteers made their services available to the authorities some of which was utilized in the operation and is highly appreciated.

"The media played an important role by broadcasting an urgent appeal by the authorities to stay away from the area as access routes were immediately identified as an initial hazard if blocked as heavy equipment and heavy vehicles were needed at the scene.

"Media continued to assist throughout the day by continuing to broadcast the message that the beach was closed to the public and by updating the public regularly on the situation.

"On arrival on-scene 4 whales were found deceased. 6 whales were found to be in reasonable good health. 1 whale that was lying in shallow surf appears to have swum away through the surf. 9 whales were in less good health.

"During the morning 1 whale that was found to be in poor health died naturally.

"9 whales were humanely euthanized after Veterinary Surgeons found them to be in extremely poor health and suffering.

"Of the 6 whales that had initially been in relatively good health 1 whales health deteriorated rapidly and 5 were loaded onto trailers and trucks and transported to the SA Naval Dockyard in Simonstown and transported to sea by two SA Navy tug boats and released.

(Initially one whale was released and it beached itself again in front of Berthas Restaurant, on a beach, in Simonstown. That whale was later loaded onto one of the SA Navy tug boats using a crane on the tug boat).

"In total one Navy tug boat had two whales onboard and one Navy tug boat had three whales onboard. All 5 whales were released in calm seas in False Bay and were followed after being released and they appeared to be swimming along strongly.

"14 whale carcasses have been removed from the beach.

"Marine Scientists have taken samples of the whales for forensic analysis."

All emergency agencies, private companies and private individuals, and the members of the public and media that were at the scene are commended for their efforts.

In total there were 20 whales.

5 were loaded onto trailers and transported to the SA Naval Dockyard and released at sea by two Navy tug boats and at last sight at 19h07 they were witnessed by following boats to be swimming strongly in False Bay. 1 whale had swum off through the surf during the early morning. 5 whales died of natural caused on Noordhoek Beach. 9 whales that were in poor health and suffering were humanely euthanized by Veterinary Surgeons assisted with the guidance of the SPCA and Marine Scientists from the Department of Environmental affairs – Oceans and Coasts.


Released by:

Craig Lambinon
Sea Rescue Communications

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