11 March 2005

Hunt off for missing seaman

The search for an elderly crewman of a capsized fishing boat has been called off, said the National Sea Rescue Institute at Mossel Bay on Thursday.

NSRI station commander Dawie Zwiegelaar said: "The search has been called off... the old man is presumed dead."

Zwiegelaar said the drama started early on Thursday morning, when the 10-metre deckline fishing vessel, Veronica Jean, with nine crew aboard, sent out a Mayday message, about 17 nautical miles east of Mossel Bay.

Another boat, the Sea Queen, responded to the Mayday and went to assist.

Unidentified missing member
An NSRI boat, already on the water, also responded to the SOS.

Zwiegelaar said the Sea Queen reached the capsized boat first and brought aboard eight crew who were clinging to the side.

The NSRI vessel reached the scene and searched for the unidentified missing crewman.

A charter helicopter from George helped in the search.

Zwiegelaar said the fishing company of the capsized boat also sent out a trawler to try to recover the waterlogged vessel.


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