Crew survives capsize drama
THREE weary Sodwana Bay holiday makers clung to the upturned hull of their ski-boat for over four hours before abandoning it for a two hour swim to shore.
According to NSRI Richards Bay Station 19, Gauteng skipper Etienne Fouche and his two crew members on the boat Salticrack were capsized by a wave at 10.30am on Friday, about 3km offshore of Diepgat.
‘Sitting on the upturned hull for over four hours, they drifted and kept being washed off the hull, causing them to become exhausted.
‘Noticing they were drifting south but not getting any closer to shore, one of the men dived under the boat to recover life jackets and they made the decision to swim to shore.’
After a family member reported the men as missing, iSimangaliso Wetland Park staff, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife field rangers, My Lady Charters and Coral Dive Charters initiated a search.
My Lady Charters conducted a shoreline search in 4x4 vehicles and the men were found at about 6pm, safe and uninjured, walking along the beach towards Sodwana Bay.
On Saturday morning, iSimangaliso staff launched a shoreline search for Salticrack while Advantage Charters conducted sea search patrols.
Newly established NSRI St Lucia Station 40 launched a private boat, to assist in the search.
Salticrack was found washed ashore 13.8km south of Sodwana Bay by iSimangaliso staff, who arranged for recovery of the vessel.
The stricken boat was recovered but had suffered serious damage
Etienne Fouche and his crew, HJ Swanepoel and Francois van Wyk survived the close call