Skipper missing after Cape Town harbour launch capsizes

Helicopter Rescue Picture Credit: Thinkstock
Helicopter Rescue Picture Credit: Thinkstock

The skipper of a Cape Town harbour launch is missing after his vessel capsized 300 metres offshore on Saturday.

Two other Troupant crew members were rescued from the water and are expected to recover in hospital from non-fatal drowning symptoms.

Quentin Botha‚ the National Sea Rescue Institute Table Bay station commander‚ said Transnet National Ports Authority raised the alarm just before midday.

“Crew from the fishing vessel Jin Syi Shiang‚ who were first on the scene‚ threw life rings to two survivors‚ two males believed to be aged in their 50s and believed to be from Cape Town‚” he said.

The men were hauled from the water on to a harbour workboat‚ Blue Jay.

 “On arrival at the capsized vessel‚ NSRI Table Bay rescue swimmers were deployed into the water and they initiated a search for the only remaining crew member‚ the skipper‚ age 63‚ from Cape Town‚ who was reported to be missing‚” said Botha.

“(They) conducted a free dive perimeter search and were placed on the upturned hull to hear for any feedback while knocking‚ but no feedback was received.”

Divers from the police‚ fire and rescue and emergency medical service joined the search after an anchor line was secured to the upturned hull.

“They penetrated the cabins and hull but no sign of the missing man was found. Some areas of the inside of the vessel could not be reached‚” said Botha.

“The rescue divers’ scuba dive search was then concentrated from the area of where the vessel had drifted to (approximately half a nautical mile off-shore of the breakwater) to where the initial capsizing took place. (There was) no sign of the missing man despite an extensive search.”

Botha said Blue Jay would tow the 13.95-metre Troupant into port‚ where it would be righted and searched. It is one of four launches used in the harbour.

“Police have opened an investigation and the South African Maritime Safety Authority will investigate the incident‚” he said.


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