28 January 2005

Two lost at sea - then their luck changed

Luck was on the side of two Hout Bay men who spent 22 hours adrift at sea, covering at least 117km in a rowing boat.

Dirk van Wyk, 54, and Melvin Maarman, 26, had been fishing from a small rowing boat near Hout Bay at 8pm on Tuesday when they were swept out to sea by strong winds.

"They drifted an estimated five nautical miles from Dassen Island and attempted to row back toward Cape Town," said Chris Hudson, station commander of NSRI Hout Bay.

The men were reported missing the next day and the NSRI was alerted.

An extensive search was mounted but there was no trace of the two men.

Van Wyk and Maarman's luck changed at about noon on Wednesday when the wind changed direction and they were swept back to Clifton where they were found by lifeguards.

"It was a sheer stroke of luck that these guys were found floating off Clifton Fourth Beach, said NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon.

"When we started our search there was no telling where they could have been, but they turned up in the area which was plotted by the Marine Rescue co-ordinators."

Both men were in good health although tired and hungry.

"It's amazing. They had no water or food on their boat, only the clothes on their backs," said Lambinon.


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