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We were glad to save lives, says South Africa Navy captain

Cape Town – SA Navy captain Musawenkosi Nkomonde told News24 on Monday that he and his crew were proud to be able to rescue the crew of a yacht during the Cape to Rio race in January last year.

Nkomonde and the crew of the SAS Isandlwana were awarded the chairperson’s letter of appreciation by the National Sea Rescue Institute on Monday evening for their rescue of six people on the yacht Bille.

One member of the yacht’s crew died when the vessel was dismasted in rough seas and gale force winds.

“It was very crucial that we conducted that rescue. It was quite an achievement and we are glad we were able to save lives.”

He said he and his crew travelled 100 nautical miles to rescue those on the yacht.

The SAS Isandlwana found the yacht at 02:00 on a Monday morning.

“It was dark and the water was very rough, so we couldn’t launch. Launching a boat could have resulted in another disaster,” he said.

Nkomonde made the decision to launch a boat at sunrise.

“One person was already dead when we arrived, he was hanging over the side and caught up in the sails of the boat.”

He said the crew of the yacht told him that it had capsized at one point.

Nkomonde said the SA Navy was sometimes called to do search and rescue missions.

“It is part and parcel of what we do. Here, we were the only available vessel to conduct a rescue in those conditions.”

Written by PH

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