Entries in Capsized (2)


Tourists in South Africa Survived Capsized Boat in Air Pockets

Nardus Engelbrecht/Gallo Images/Getty Images(CAPE TOWN, South Africa) -- A popular tourist excursion near Cape Town, South Africa, turned into a horrifying experience for dozens of people this weekend when their boat capsized in chilly, shark-infested water.  Three of the tourists trapped beneath the boat for hours survived by finding air pockets.  Two men died.

The charted catamaran Miroshga was near Hout Bay on the way to Duiker Island where the 34 tourists, including four children and four crew members, were headed to see a famous seal colony.  The area is also known for its population of great white sharks.  The boat capsized shortly after 2 p.m. Saturday, according to the South African National Sea Rescue Institute.

“Upon arrival, we found many of the passengers had been pulled onto fishing boats and chartered tourist boats that were nearby or were clinging to the side of the upturned boat,” the institute’s Craig Lambinon said.

One of the passengers, Peter Hyett, 64, of the United Kingdom, was unconscious and could not be revived.  Rescuers immediately started search operations for the four passengers who were still missing.

“Rescuers moved onto the hull of the boat and used tools to bang on the upturned top of the boat to see if they got a response, and they did get tapping back so they knew there were people trapped beneath the boat,” Lambinon said.

Anna-Marie Weaver of South Africa told the Cape Times she was one of those trapped passengers.

“It was dark in there,” Weaver told the Times from her hospital bed Sunday.  “The boat was moving and the water rushing backwards and forwards, very strongly.  I don’t know how long we were in there when we heard someone shouting from outside, knocking on the hull.  When I heard that voice, it was like a sound out of heaven.”

Rescue divers then began searching for the trapped passengers.  About two hours after the boat capsized, they found one woman surviving in an air pocket in the hull.  They continued looking for another two hours before they found more trapped passengers.

“They had searched most of the boat and found nothing.  Then in a section of the boat that was almost barely accessible, they found another two women surviving in an air pocket in a cupboard,” Lambinon said.

Lambinon said it took about 30 minutes for rescuers to encourage the frightened women to give up their life jackets so they could swim out of the boat.  The body of the fourth missing passenger,  South African tour guide John Roberts, 37, was found the next day on the bottom of the ocean near where the boat capsized.

The survivors were treated for hypothermia and minor injuries.  Weaver is the only passenger still in the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

The catamaran has been recovered from the water, and the cause of the accident is now under investigation.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Search Continues for Missing Men after Boat Capsizes off Mexico

U.S. Coast Guard/Chief Petty Officer Scott Cowan(SAN FELIPE, Mexico) -- Search and rescue teams are scouring the Sea of Cortez by boat and helicopter in a continuing effort to locate the U.S. tourists who are still missing following the sinking of a charter boat off the coast of Mexico.

The U.S. Coast Guard told ABC News it will extend the search area for survivors along with the Mexican Navy. According to Petty Officer Pamela Boehland, the Coast Guard will use larger aircraft for their search efforts on Tuesday that are capable of covering greater distances. The USCG expects to be up in the air over the Sea of Cortez around 10:30a PST.

One man has been confirmed dead, and seven others are still missing -- among them six Americans and one Mexican crew member, according to Mexican officials.  The identity of the dead man has not been released, but he was an American.

The boat, carrying a total of 44 passengers and crew, capsized early Sunday when it was hit by two giant waves, according to Capt. Benjamin Pineda Gomez.  Twenty-seven Americans and 16 crew members were on board the 115-foot-catamaran, which was called the Erik and was operated by the tourism company Baja Fishing.

The vessel was supposed to take the group and crew on a week-long vacation -- an annual Fourth of July outing for a group of friends from Northern California -- but it was caught in a thunderstorm and capsized around 2:30 a.m., about 60 miles south of San Felipe.

The Mexican Navy says there was no mayday call, so for more than 12 hours no one was aware of the situation.  The Navy added that the ship's cook was instrumental in alerting authorities that the boat had gone down after being rescued by a fisherman.

The rescue operation also began after a second local fisherman spotted some survivors at sea.

"When the vessel sank it was close enough to shore that some people were able to swim to shore," said Boehland.  "Other people were picked up by good Samaritan vessels that were in the area.  Others were rescued by the Mexican Navy."

Among the rescued was American Lee Ikegami, who was on a fishing trip with his buddies.  Ikegami spoke to his wife from a hotel, where crews were taking the rescued.

"Somewhere around 10ish last night my husband called and said his boat capsized and that he is fine … I was in shock," Murphy Ikegami, Lee Ikegami's wife, told ABC News.

"All I know is at that time he was not in contact with any of his friends and didn't know how they were.  He was at one end of the boat and was thrown into the sea," she added.

Lee Ikegami says he still has no idea what happened to his friends.

U.S. Consulate General in Tijuana, Mexico released a statement saying their staff had met with all surviving Americans at a hotel in San Felipe and they were working with Mexican officials to provide return transportation back to the U.S. for the American survivors.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio