The Sea Point, Fresnaye & Bantry Bay Ratepayers and Residents Association (SFB) is saddened to announce a tragic boat accident in Bantry Bay that claimed the lives of two men on Thursday, 13 June. A fishing trip turned disastrous when a boat capsized in the back breakers surf zone between Saunders Rocks and Queens Beach, resulting in a massive rescue operation by emergency services.

According to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), they received reports of a boat capsizing at 14:04. In response, NSRI Table Bay, NSRI Bakoven, and the City of Cape Town (CoCT) water rescue network quickly mobilized.

The rescue operation saw the deployment of NSRI Table Bay rescue craft, “Spirit of Day,” and NSRI rescue swimmers. They were joined by the South African Police Services (SAPS), the Western Cape Government Health EMS rescue squad and ambulance, Netcare 911 ambulance services, ER24 ambulance services, Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services, and CoCT Law Enforcement. Additionally, the SAPS Water Policing and Diving Services (WPDS) were placed on alert, and the EMS/AMS Skymed rescue helicopter, accompanied by an EMS Metro rescue diver, was activated.

Initially, it was unclear how many people were on the boat when it capsized. Eyewitnesses reported seeing bystanders deploy NSRI pink rescue buoys into the surf, with at least two casualties reportedly using the buoys to stay afloat. NSRI rescue swimmers were the first to reach the scene, locating two men, believed to be aged in their 20s and 60s, offshore of Queens Beach.

The younger man was brought to shore and treated by paramedics for hypothermia and non-fatal drowning symptoms before being transported to a hospital in stable condition. The second man, who was unresponsive, was assisted by a rescue swimmer and brought onto the NSRI rescue craft, where medical treatment commenced. Unfortunately, despite extensive CPR efforts, the man was declared deceased at Three Anchor Bay.

Further investigation revealed that three men were on the boat when it capsized, with one man initially missing. The boat itself washed ashore among the rocks near Queens Beach. Sea Point Police patrol officers confirmed that no one was trapped in the wreck.

The NSRI rescue craft returned to the scene to assist with an extensive search involving the Skymed helicopter, NSRI rescue swimmers, and emergency services conducting shoreline search efforts. The missing man was eventually located in the surf zone by the Skymed helicopter, and despite rapid intervention and CPR efforts, he too was declared deceased.

The bodies of the two deceased men were taken into the care of Police and Government Health Forensic Pathology Services. It appears that the three men, well-known in Cape Town’s fishing and maritime communities, had launched from Three Anchor Bay earlier that day for a fishing trip.

The SFB commends the NSRI, the City of Cape Town, and all first responders for their swift and valiant efforts during this tragic incident. The NSRI also commended the eyewitnesses and public bystanders who assisted during the incident, expressing condolences to the families and friends of the deceased. Efforts to support the grieving families are ongoing, and an inquest docket has been opened by the police.

Should someone witness an incident that requires support from the NSRI, they can call the NSRI emergency line on 087 094 9774.

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