Coast KZN

23 Jan 2018

Surf rescue at Cape Vidal after boat flips with two occupants

Tamlyn Jolly (Zululand Observer) Picture: Pulling in the capsized boat, with Leon Steyn at the stern of the boat helping get it ashore (Photo: Tania Ferreira)

Amid massive swells, the two fishermen’s boat flipped and capsized

TwoSt Lucia fishermen are lucky to be alive after being caught in Sunday’s massive swells at Cape Vidal, which caused their boat to flip.

‘Despite massive cyclone swells during Sunday morning’s high tide, there were a few boats waiting to launch at the Vidal launching area,’ said Johan Combrinck, who was among them.

‘One big boat went in okay and then it was the turn of a small rubber duck.

‘The swells were like mountains, breaking and then reforming before hitting the shore.’

It was one of these reformed swells which picked up in the ski boat channel and flipped the rubber duck.

There was no time to waste, so Combrinck, the skipper of his boat, along with his crew Clyde Coetser and Leon Steyn, immediately launched so they could assist the men in trouble.

Working as a team, with Coetser as the wave and rock spotter from the front of the boat, and Steyn ready to haul the fishermen into the boat, they had picked up both fishermen and taken them safely to shore 20 minutes after the flip.

Next was the boat which had been washed into the surf zone behind the rocks.

‘The fittest of the three of us, Leon, had scuba fins and a flotation device, and we dropped him off at the capsized boat.

‘It took some time amid the crashing waves and massive swells, but Steyn managed to tie the rope to the boat so it could be towed to shore.

‘The rescue took about two-and-a-half hours, but the key was that we got the two guys out of the water within 20 minutes of the capsize.

‘They were both in shock, but otherwise fine.’