Ian Gray, NSRI Port Elizabeth station commander, said; “At 17h45, on Monday, 04th March, NSRI Port Elizabeth volunteer sea rescue duty crew were activated following reports of a small 5.8 meter rigid inflatable boat adrift at sea, with 3 local men onboard, suspecting to be somewhere between Schoenmakerskop and Sardinia Bay, 15 nautical miles from the Port of Port Elizabeth, with motor failure.
“Our NSRI Port Elizabeth volunteer sea rescue duty crew launched our sea rescue craft EIKOS RESCUER IV and on arrival on-scene, in fading light and 3 to 5 meter rough sea swells and a 15 knot wind, a search commenced with the hope of finding the drifting boat before nightfall.
“Aircraft coming in to land at Port Elizabeth Airport were requested to be on the lookout as the search area was in their flight path.
“At approximately 19h30 both our sea rescue crew aboard EIKOS RESCUER IV and an Airlink commercial aircraft (coming in to land) spotted the drifting boat simultaneously, 2 nautical miles off-shore, as night fell, and our sea rescue craft rendezvoused with the boat and all 3 men were found safe and not injured.
“In the rough sea conditions the 3 men, aged 36, 54 and 43, abandoned their boat and were transferred onto our sea rescue craft and brought to our sea rescue base arriving at 21h15.
“It is expected that their boat will wash ashore in the area.
“The men were released requiring no further assistance.”