Police search and rescue teams assisted by the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) are searching the waters off Richards Bay for a missing sharks board member who is presumed drowned after the boat he was in capsized. Picture by Daai Plek -Facebook

Durban - Police search and rescue teams assisted by the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) are searching the waters off Richards Bay for a missing Sharks Board member who is presumed drowned after the boat he was in capsized on Wednesday morning. 

Colonel Thembeka Mbele, a KZN police spokesperson, said that just after 7am five employees of the Sharks Board were on a boat out at sea when it capsized. 

"Two of the crew were rescued by the National Sea Rescue Institute. Two people aged 43 and 45 had drowned. The bodies were recovered. Rescue teams are searching for one more person," Mbele said. 

Hillegard Holtzhausen, National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Richards Bay duty coxswain, said that they received a distress call from the City of uMhlathuzi lifeguards and the KZN Natal Sharks Board informing them that a boat had capsized in the surf at Newark Beach near the Port of Richards Bay with five crew onboard.

The sea rescue craft Spirit of Round Table was launched and an NSRI sea rescue vehicle. 

"On arrival on the scene, three crew of the boat were located on the beach. The boat was already beached and two men were reported missing. One person was taken to the lifeguard station first aid room and following medical efforts sadly he was declared deceased by paramedics. Two others were taken to hospital in stable conditions," Holtzhausen said. 

During an ongoing search, a body of one of the missing men was located in the surf by the helicopter rescue crew who guided the sea rescue craft to the location.  

"The body was recovered onto the sea rescue craft in the surf line and CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) efforts were commenced on the casualty by NSRI. The man was brought onto the beach aboard the sea rescue craft where despite extensive ongoing CPR he died,"Holtzhausen said. 

The bodies of the two men have been taken into the care of the Forensic Pathology Services.

Holtzhausen said an ongoing search operation for one missing man is continuing. 

A KZN Sharks Board fixed-wing aircraft has joined in the ongoing search and Police Search and Rescue are continuing in an ongoing search operation.
SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority) were alerted and investigations into the incident will be conducted.

Rescue teams at the scene are, ICE ambulance services, a Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) Port Net rescue helicopter accompanied by the NSRI ASR (Airborne Sea Rescue) Unit rescue swimmers, the SA Police Services and a Police Search and Rescue Unit and KZN Sharks Board personnel.

Daily News