Four survive collision at sea after yachting


Four crew members of a yacht called Tipsy were rescued from the sea on Friday evening after their completion of the famous Vasco da Gama yacht cruise after their yacht collided with a container on the open sea and began to sink on the way home.

The four crew members, all in their 60s, were on their way from East London to Durban when they ran into trouble about a nautical mile off the coast in the vicinity of Umngazana.

A dramatic night followed to locate the crew members and bring them safely ashore.

Gert du Plessis, station commander of the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) in Port Edward, says coordinators of the Vasco da Gama yacht called his team last night after 19:00 after the crew informed the coordinators that they were sinking is.

Another yacht, called Zing, was at that stage still four hours away from the Tipsy.

The crew members – three men and a woman – at one stage made it known with the help of mobile phones that they had left the sinking yacht behind and boarded a life raft. They confirmed that they were cold but safe and were consequently told to keep only one mobile phone switched on in an attempt to save batteries while they were searched for.

However, it was not an easy task to track them down.

It was initially determined that the four found themselves about 55 nautical miles from Port Edward in the vicinity of Port St. Johns found.

However, during the night their life raft drifted further away due to rainy conditions and up to 2 m swells, and there was quite a bit of head scratching as to where it could have been.

The crew was instructed at one stage to fire a red 1,000-foot emergency flare. Crew of the NSRI Port Edward noticed the flame and realized that the rescue fleet was much further south than initially determined.

The abandoned and washed-up yacht was finally located in the vicinity of Koffie Bay and the crew was told to fire another emergency flare. The crew was finally located about 1 nautical mile away at 01:23.

The crew members were cold and thirsty but unharmed.

It is still unknown where the floating container that caused the accident came from.