The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Cape Town was made aware of a sailor onboard the yacht Panacea that had departed Cape Town on Friday, 12 August, and was headed to Mossel Bay.
After three days of no contact with his family, the sailor’s mother informed MRCC that she was concerned however not overly so, as her son was reportedly in no immediate rush to reach Mossel Bay.
MRCC Cape Town, out of concern requested Telkom Maritime Radio to broadcast marine messages requesting vessels routing along the south coast between Cape Town and Mossel Bay to look out for and report any sightings of the yacht and report it to the MRCC.
On Friday, a report from a passing vessel was received. Due to very bad weather, the vessel could not remain on scene. However, a different vessel managed to locate the yacht as well and tried to confirm the safety of the lone sailor without success.
With the concern and need to establish the safety of the sailor, MRCC Cape Town activated and tasked the National Sea Rescue Institute’s rescue boat from the Hermanus station to proceed to the area, to establish the safety of the sailor, and render any assistance that may be required.
Following an extensive search lasting well into the early hours of Saturday morning, the rescue boat having operated for over 10 hours under very difficult sea conditions and in near zero visibility was stood down.
The South African Air Force at 22 Squadron in Cape town was tasked along with the Air Sea Rescue team from the NSRI to prepare to launch at first light to head to the scene and provide assistance.
Due to bad weather, the flight departed later than planned and arrived on the scene during the early afternoon of Saturday. Once on scene, a rescue swimmer from the NSRI team was deployed from the helicopter to board the vessel.
Unfortunately, the lone sailor was found, but deceased.
Plans are currently underway to recover the sailor and the yacht.
MRCC Cape Town expressed their sincere condolences to the family of the sailor and thanked the crews from the NSRI and the South African Air Force for their efforts under very challenging conditions present during the operation.