An Oryx helicopter from AFB Ysterplaat-based 22 Squadron was part of a multi-agency search and rescue operation in Western Cape.
The medium transport helicopter crewed by Major Juan-Pierre du Preez (pilot), Major Tebogo Selepe (co-pilot) and flight engineer Warrant Officer Gerard Usher), along with National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) assets, a SA Police Service sea borderline patrol craft, a law enforcement marine unit craft and the EMS/AMS Skymed rescue helicopter searched for 13 men believed lost when a rigid hull inflatable sank off Mouille Point early on Thurday.
According to Craig Lambinon of the NSRI an extensive search by the SAAF Oryx located two men floating off Bakoven. A rescue swimmer was deployed from the helicopter and secured one man. A sea rescue craft rendezvoused at the same location and secured the second man. He was taken aboard a sea rescue craft.
“Both men, suffering hypothermia, were recovered into the helicopter using a basket hoist and airlifted to hospital where they are recovering,” he said.
At the time of publication the search was continuing with a police dive unit involved. Assistance and co-ordination of the operation is coming from MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre), TNPA (Transnet National Ports Authority), NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) and NSRI shore controllers with Telkom Maritime Radio Services helping with VHF marine radio communications.