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Cape Town - A brave little dog and its two owners swam to shore from a shipwreck off one of South Africa’s most dangerous coasts.
Graham and Sheryl Anley, accompanied by their Jack Russell, Rosie, were on a three-month break to Madagascar aboard their yacht.
The alarm was raised with the NSRI in East London at 6.15am on Sunday , following reports that the 36-foot yacht Boundless had run aground at Cebe, around 450km by road from East London, on the Transkei coast.
Geoff McGregor, NSRI East London station commander, reported that they had run into rough weather with waves of up to seven metres.
Despite the pair lowering their sails and turning on the motor, the fierce wind and sea eventually swept their boat ashore and onto a reef in the early hours.
“As the incident happened Graham sent a mayday radio distress call and activated the EPIRB (emergency position indicating radio beacon) but they were immediately forced to abandon the yacht,” McGregor said.
They were all wearing life-jackets - the dog had on a specially tailored doggie life-jacket which has its own emergency strobe light attached - and they managed to swim to shore.
After getting there safely - including Rosie - they raised the alarm.
“Graham told us he first swam Rosie ashore safely before returning for his wife, whose safety line had become snagged on the steering gear.
“Once safely ashore he raised the alarm by cellphone,” said McGregor.
“We dispatched an Eastern Cape Government Health EMS rescue helicopter and on arrival at the scene they found the crew and dog safely ashore and not injured. The yacht was severely damaged and high and dry at the high water mark,” McGregor said.
Sheryl Anley and the dog were airlifted by the EMS rescue helicopter to the NSRI’s East London sea rescue base, while Graham Anley was being put up by a family back-packers lodge near to the scene.
McGregor said: “The EMS rescue helicopter crew had assisted to secure the yacht to the shore and personal belongings had been recovered from the yacht prior to departing for East London.
“Efforts will be made by the couple to make arrangements to salvage what they can of their yacht.”
He said the they would take a few days to assess the situation.
“Graham is an NSRI Plettenberg Bay volunteer (and) admits it is humbling, after 22 years as an NSRI volunteer, to have the shoe on the other foot and need to be rescued,” McGregor said.
He added his rescue team was delighted the family of three was safe.