Two hour swim to shore for stranded sailors

Three men saved their lives when they took on a two hour swim to shore after spenting four hours on the overturned hull of their capsized skiboat.

The men from Centurion, Gauteng, skipper Etienne Fouche, HJ Swanepoel and Francois van Wyk, had taken a 19-foot ski-boat, Salticrack, to go fishing on Friday morning 27 April 2018.

NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon said the early morning excursion took a turn for the worse, when the boat was capsized by a wave at around 10:30, and the three men were left stranded out at sea, sitting on the upturned hull.

“They drifted sitting on the upturned hull for over four hours, but they kept being washed off the hull, which was causing them to become exhausted.

“Noticing that they were drifting south, but not getting any closer to shore, one of the men dived under the boat to recover life-jackets and they made the decision to swim to shore with their life-jackets on,” said Lambinon.

Lambinon said the swim back to shore had taken the men over two hours to complete.

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“On arrival on the shore, sunburnt and tired, they marked their position by leaving their life-jackets on the beach to attract any attention of anyone who might be searching for them, and to mark where they had come ashore to give an indication of where a search should begin for their capsized craft adrift at sea,” he said.

Lambinon said the men, who had set out northwards towards Sodwana Bay, had been found at around 18:00 by members of the My Lady Charters who were searching the shoreline using 4×4 vehicles.

Lambinon said the missing craft had been recovered on Saturday morning by members of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park staff, who found the boat washed ashore 13.8km south of Sodwana Bay.