The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) station in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday searched for a reported surfer in distress without success. The search will continue on Thursday.
“At 17h43, Wednesday, 03rd August, NSRI Port Elizabeth duty crew were activated following an eye-witness report of a wind surfer or a kite-boarder suspected to be in difficulty off-shore of Flat Rocks,” Ian Gray, NSRI Port Elizabeth station commander, said.
“The sea rescue craft Eikos Rescuer IV was launched and a sea rescue vehicle responded to the scene. NSRI rescuers were dispatched in their private vehicles to conduct a shoreline search. Coastal Water Rescue responded to assist.”
In 1.5 meter swells, a 45 knot South Westerly wind, which dropped to a gusting 30 knots as the evening progressed, and in rain squalls, a sea and shoreline search commenced while investigations continued to determine if a sail boarder may be missing at sea.
“The eye-witness reported that he believed that a sail boarder with a red sail may be in difficulty off-shore,” said Gray.
“Sail boarding fraternities were alerted and through their networks they confirmed to have no knowledge of any members overdue or missing.
“Coastal Water Rescue investigated known launching sites and slip ways while NSRI Port Elizabeth continued with a sea and shoreline search.”
Three vehicles with roof racks were found unattended at a slip way opposite the Oceanarium and Police tracked down the owners who confirmed that they were safe and not in any difficulties and had not been sail boarding in the area.
“At 20h30, following an extensive search and with all avenues exhausted and with no sign of any person or sail boarder in difficulty and no reports of anyone overdue or missing, the search was suspended and we will continue to be monitor for any new information although this appears to be a false alarm with good intentions,” said Gray.