Written by defenceWeb, Friday, 27 November 2015
A pair of 15 Squadron Charlie flight BK-117 helicopters formed a large part of the successful rescue of 25 crewmen south-east of Cape Recife on Thursday.
The rotary-winged aircraft were scrambled after National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Port Elizabeth had launched its sea rescue craft Eikos Rescue IV and the casualty craft Helena Marie along with the Xtreme Projects boat Scar Face to support a rescue from the stricken crayfish boat Baratz.
The NSRI was activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority following an urgent request for assistance from Baratz. It reported no motor power and was also taking water off Cape Recife in rough sea conditions with up to five metre swells and south-easterly winds gusting up to 20 knots.
NSRI Port Elizabeth station commander Ian Gray said: “On arrival on scene it was found the casualty crew had sealed the engine room which was waterlogged and the Helena Marie attempted to take Baratz under tow. Baratz listed and began to sink forcing her crew to abandon ship into life-rafts.
“The Port Authority tug Mkuze was also activated and responded to the scene,” he said, adding a search was initiated for two fishermen suspected missing.
“This was after crew in the life-rafts were safe and the NSRI was satisfied the search for the suspected missing crew took priority over attempting to transfer
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