At approximately 15h10 on Sunday 29 April, while NSRI personnel were assisting at the Boardwalk Hobie 16 Nationals, taking place off-shore in Algoa Bay, Port Elizabeth a support boat reported coming across a body floating approximately 1 nautical mile off-shore of Humewood Beach.
“NSRI Port Elizabeth volunteer sea rescue duty crew were activated and launched our sea rescue craft Eikos Rescuer IV and on arrival on-scene a body of an unidentified person was secured and recovered onto the sea rescue boat and brought to our sea rescue base where Police have taken custody of the body,” said Ian Gray, NSRI Port Elizabeth station commander.
A week ago, on Sunday 22 April, NSRI Port Elizabeth had launched an extensive search operation after a fisherman had been reported missing, suspected to have gone overboard, from a Chokka fishing boat off-shore of Kings Beach. The man was discovered to be missing off the boat at around 18h00 and his life-jacket was still onboard at his bunk.
2 NSRI Port Elizabeth sea rescue craft and 4 Chokka fishing boats had joined in a search and Police have been continuing with an ongoing search during this week.
While it is suspected that the body found today may be that of the (believed to be aged 38) fisherman, from Jeffreys Bay, who had gone missing off that Chokka fishing boat last week Police will investigate and attempt to establish the identity of the body and if the body is that of the missing fisherman.
Editor’s Notes: I was on another support boat, Extreme 4, which secured the position of the body and stood by with Ian Gray onboard whilst he directed the retrieval. The body was in a vertical position staring sightlessly into the depths that had claimed it.
The crew from Rescue 6 Alpha completed the difficult task precisely and with dignity. Out of deference and respect I refrained from taking photographs until officially requested to record the recovery for the authorities. The images were handed over at the NSRI Base.