File photo: NSRI

PORT ELIZABETH - A father and his young son are missing at sea while a teenager managed to swim to shore after their canoe capsized while they were fishing off Beach View in Port Elizabeth, the National Sea Rescue Institute said on Sunday.

NSRI Station 6 Port Elizabeth were alerted at 9.06pm on Saturday night to reports of a father and son missing in the sea at Beach View, NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon said.

It appeared that the father, 35, his son, 10, from Beach View, and his nephew, 16, from Algoa Park, launched a canoe to go fishing in calm seas at about 6pm. Their craft was believed to have capsized at around 7pm about half a kilometer off-shore, and the teenager swam to shore at 8.15pm and raised the alarm, he said. 

The missing man’s wife and her sister went to the scene to start a search and they located the canoe washed ashore. The Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) metro water rescue network was activated.

NSRI Port Elizabeth duty crew launched the sea rescue craft JLK Rescuer and a sea rescue vehicle, while officers from the NMB beach office, members of Coastal Water Rescue, and the South African Police Service (SAPS) also responded.

Local Community Police Forum members also joined the search. Up to 50 people were deployed in this search effort.

"Telkom Maritime Radio Services alerted all ships in the area to keep a look out and a chokka fishing boat came in from fishing grounds and conducted sweeping line search patterns that were joined by the NSRI sea rescue craft, with the two craft conducting coordinated sweeping line search efforts at sea and an extensive shore patrol was conducted.

"The canoe and fishing gear were recovered from the shoreline. It is believed that they were not wearing life jackets. Despite an extensive sea and shoreline search along 3km of coastline and 1km out to sea, no sign of the father and his son has been found and a police dive unit will continue in an ongoing search operation. 

"Calm sea conditions and a full moon aided an extensive search operation. The chokka fishing boat is commended for the extensive search effort assisting NSRI. Police have opened an investigation and thoughts are with the family in this difficult time," Lambinon said.

African News Agency (ANA)