Watch: Search for missing KZN skipper, passenger continues after torched boat found beached

The remains of a burnt beached charter fishing ski-boat.

The burnt remains of a charter fishing ski-boat called MAGNUM TOO wrecked in the vicinity of Dobela on the Mozambique coastline. Picture: NSRI

Published Mar 18, 2024


The search for missing KwaZulu-Natal North Coast skipper John Matambu and his unidentified passenger continues after a multidisciplinary search operation discovered his “extensively” burnt charter fishing ski-boat called Magnum Too wrecked in the vicinity of Dobela on the Mozambique coastline on Sunday morning.

This is according Norman Rautenbach, who is the Richard’s Bay National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) deputy station commander.

He said at around 5pm on Saturday, NSRI Richard’s Bay was alerted to concerns of a charter vessel ski boat that was missing at sea in “uncertain circumstances that appear to indicate that foul play may be involved”.

He said the 21 foot Yeld Cat ski-boat may have departed Sodwana Bay during the early morning of March 16.

“It appears that persons, or a person, a male, who have not been identified, may have chartered the ski-boat that was expected to return to Sodwana Bay during Saturday afternoon,” he said.

Rautenbach said that missing persons reports had been opened at Mbazwana police station.

Missing KwaZulu-Natal North Coast skipper John Matambu and his charter fishing ski-boat called Magnum Too that was discovered burnt in Mozambique. Picture: NSRI

The SAPS Police Sea Borderline Control, Police Search and Rescue, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, local community security companies, local resorts and lodges, along that stretch of coastline of Sodwana Bay and north of Sodwana Bay, were assisting to gather information, conduct investigations and conduct search efforts, he said.

Rautenbach said while it remains unknown what happened that led to the burnt vessel beaching, the law enforcement agency’s response team was on site investigating.

He said there remains no signs of Matambu or the unidentified man who reportedly chartered the fishing vessel.

“Both men remain missing in unknown circumstances. Thoughts are with the family and colleagues of John Matambu and the missing man in this difficult time,” he said.

The NSRI said police and law enforcement, security agencies and maritime authorities are continuing in an extensive search and investigations to try to locate the two missing men and to piece together what has transpired.

“We are appealing to anyone with information that can assist police in this search to contact police on 10111 and or NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) 087 094 9774.”

The Mercury