Eight fishermen are still missing after a chokka fishing boat, the Maredon, capsized at sea off Cape St Francis in the Eastern Cape in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Despite extensive sea, air, and shoreline searches there has been no sign of the fishermen. It is reported that one person died and several others were injured in the accident, they are currently in a stable condition in hospital.
Distress flares were fired from the boat at around 3am, and other fishing boats nearby confirmed the vessel had capsized.
The search and recovery operation is currently ongoing, and has been since the red distress flares by chokka fishing vessels were sent up.
NSRI St Francis Bay duty crew was activated by the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) and, along with vessel Silver Eagle and Megalodon, followed a lead from an emergency position-indicating radio beacon that led them to confirm that the Maredon had been capsized.
Craig Lambinon, NSRI spokesperson, told local media that Silver Eagle had spotted a small vessel that was drifting dangerously into a cliff face.
“It appears that Silver Eagle came upon a life-raft and reported that the life-raft had drifted too close in towards the rocks and could not be reached. Megalodon reported to have recovered one survivor from the water,” Lambinon said.
The Maredon was found capsized and hard aground at Sunset Rocks but surf conditions did not allow rescuers to get close to the stricken vessel during the high tide. There had been 16 crew members on board.
“As high tide approached, waves caused the stricken vessel to roll over a few times and one survivor was witnessed climbing out of the vessel and NSRI rescue swimmers waded into the water and rescued the survivor who has been airlifted to hospital by the SAAF 15 Squadron Charlie flight helicopter in a stable condition,” said Lambinon.