Edward Russouw, NSRI Gordons Bay deputy station commander, said; “At 21h22, Saturday, 28th November, NSRI Gordons Bay were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority following reports of red distress flares fired in the vicinity off-shore of Harbour Island, Gordons Bay.
NSRI Gordons Bay launched the sea rescue craft Spirit of Surfski II. The SA Police Services and Gordons Bay Security private ambulance services responded to stand-by at NSRI Gordons Bay sea rescue base.
A sea search commenced in a gale force South Easterly on-shore wind when, during a search, a torch light was spotted flashing in the distance and on arrival on the scene, ¾ of a nautical mile off-shore of Harbour Island, the crew aboard the sea rescue craft located a capsized Snoek fishing boat with 3 men clinging onto the upturned hull and they were holding onto the body of a 4th man.
The body of the deceased man and the 3 fishermen were recovered onto the sea rescue craft and brought to shore. Paramedics treated the 3 survivors for hypothermia (they did not require hospitalisation) and the body of the deceased fisherman was taken into the care of Police and the Department of Health Forensic Pathology Services.
The survivors confirmed that a 5th fisherman, wearing a life-jacket, had drifted away from the upturned boat in the strong winds.
A shoreline search commenced in the hopes that the missing fisherman would be swept ashore in the strong winds and the WC Government Health EMS rescue squad, Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services, Law Enforcement Marine Unit and the City of Cape Town Disaster Risk Management Operations responded with lighting vehicles and extra personnel to assist in a shoreline search and to light up the shoreline.
Taking the position of the capsized craft, wind speed and direction and the drift of the currents an area was identified as the most probable area where the fisherman may wash ashore. Shallow water depth was not conducive for a boat search in the vicinity and the area was combed extensively together with other areas to rule out all possibilities.
The extensive shoreline search included emergency services using tactical lighting equipment and tactical vehicles to illuminate the shore front while rescuers searched along the shoreline in amongst rocks and shallow surf.
A Police Dive Unit were placed on alert.
Family of the fishermen arrived at the sea rescue base and Police arranged their Police trauma counselors who took care of the families and of the survivors.
A Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services Pastor joined the trauma briefing to assist Police trauma counselors with families and the survivors.
The surviving fishermen have confirmed that they had been returning from a day fishing and it is suspected that the strong winds contributed to their boat capsizing.
They are all from the Strand and they are all close friends.
Despite an extensive search no sign of the missing fisherman has been found.
A Police Dive team are alerted and NSRI Gordons Bay are continuing in an ongoing search for the missing fisherman.
The capsized boat remains adrift semi submerged.
Police have opened an inquest docket.