Cape Town - A father and son from Paternoster, lost at sea, drifting in an open boat in fog and rain for two icy nights, were rescued on Friday after what locals described as a miraculous sighting by a random fishing boat.
Christy Jordaan, 59, and Brandon, 36, were spotted just before 3pm. They were ferried to hospital immediately.
Craig Lambinon, NSRI spokesman, said the two were in “good spirits”. Paternoster resident Ursula Walters added: “They’re very weak… but it’s just a miracle.”
The two rescued men are the husband and son of Berandina Jordaan, a DA municipal councillor from Paternoster. She had said earlier yesterday that both men were professional fishermen, and that she hoped they would be found soon.
The men had been at sea in their open boat for more than 48 hours, in swells of up to 6m high, and through swirling fog, rain and two icy nights on the Atlantic. They were spotted by chance by a fishing vessel off the coast of Saldanha Bay – far further south than they were believed to be.
The pair had drifted less than 30km, but in the past two days of thick fog and inclement weather, they had been all but invisible to those searching for them.
Lambinon said the hardship of the men’s ordeal disappeared in the celebration as the family was reunited at the Saldanha Bay yacht club.
The drama began at 2.55pm on Wednesday when the Mykonos NSRI duty crew were called out for a fishing boat that had lost motor power and was adrift at sea.
A huge rescue effort was launched. For the first 18 hours, the men remained in contact with their would-be rescuers. But despite an extensive search the rescue teams could not find them.
“Dressed warmly and with life-jackets, the men were instructed to anchor… and the search resumed at first light (on Thursday),” reported Gerard Brune, NSRI Mykonos station commander. The search then expanded to a far larger area, but was hampered by thick fog. Then cellphone reception was lost at about 9am on Thursday.
The multi-team search continued until late on Thursday night. The two were still in hospital last night, Lambinon said.