The heroic efforts of the skipper of a sunset cruise catamaran, which capsized in Table Bay, probably saved the life of a British tourist who was trapped in the galley, it emerged on Tuesday.
The catamaran, which was returning to the harbor, capsized on Monday evening at the breakwater entrance to Table Bay Port.
PICS: Catamaran capsizes outside Cape Town harbor
National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) spokesperson Craig Lambinon said they were able to launch two rescue craft immediately after the call came in just before 19:00.
The rescue team found three local crew members and five British tourists, all wearing lifejackets, on the upturned hull of the boat.
Lambinon said it subsequently emerged that British woman had been below deck when the accident happened.
"… she was trapped in the galley where water was rising in the cabin filled with water, causing a diminishing air pocket that had been provided some relief," he said.
"From what we understand, we believe that the skipper of the catamaran had free-dived under the catamaran after she capsized and was able to bring the mom out from below decks."
The NSRI commended the skipper for his efforts.
Those on board were treated for mild hypothermia. Lambinon said one woman had fractured her shoulder.
NSRI Table Bay station commander Quentin Botha said the tourists were bruised and shaken up by the ordeal, but full of praise for everyone who assisted them.
The catamaran was towed to Granger Bay and secured. Lights were secured to the boat to prevent ships and traffic from colliding with it.
'Imperative that all of our visitors are safe'
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) will investigate what led to the capsizing boat.
Kevin Knight, who owns the catamaran, told News24 on Tuesday that he was awaiting the outcome of the investigation, and that their focus at the moment was getting the boat out of the water.
The operators of the boat did not offer comment and said they would release a statement at a later stage.
Economic Opportunities MEC Debbie Schafer said she would be following up.
"I would like to request a full report as to the cause of the accident so we are assured that all standard operating procedures and safety precautions were taken during the trip."
She said boat tourism was a popular pastime in the Western Cape and it was thus vital that the highest standards were followed.
"As we enter the busy tourist season, it's imperative that all of our visitors are safe. We appeal to tour operators to ensure all safety measures are in place. , "she said.
Visitors can contact the department's tourist safety and support program on 082 554 2010 or on [email protected]
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