NSRI Kleinmond duty crew were activated at 07:11 on Saturday, 17 October following reports of a RHIB (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat) that washed ashore approximately 4 kilometres from Kleinmond. The boat was suspected to have capsized during the night.
According to NSRI Kleinmond station commander, Schalk Boonzaaier, 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. A sea and shoreline search commenced for what was initially believed to be four missing men.
NSRI Gordon’s Bay duty crew and NSRI ASR (Airborne Sea Rescue) rescue swimmers were placed on alert. The SA Police Services, WC Government Health EMS and Overberg Fire and Rescue Services were also activated.
The casualty RHIB was located by rescue authorities where it had washed up on the beach and 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.
NSRI rescue swimmers waded into the surf in the same vicinity and while they conducted sweeping line search efforts, the sea rescue craft continued with a sea search. Sadly the bodies of the remaining two missing men were located some distance apart in the surfline and recovered.
The three bodies were declared deceased by paramedics and they were confirmed to be the men who had been reported missing. The bodies of the deceased were taken into the care of Police and WC Forensic Pathology Services. An inquest docket was opened by the police.