Two sailors rescued off Durban after fishing trawler catches alight

20:18 (GMT+2) Tue, 11 Jul 2017

DURBAN, July 11 (ANA) – A Filipino man and a Chinese sailor, who were among 30 crew of a Taiwanese fishing vessel who abandoned ship following a fire, were airlifted to Durban aboard a South African Air Force helicopter for treatment on Tuesday morning, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said.

NSRI Durban deputy station commander, Andre Fletcher, said the 30 crew were picked up by two bulk carriers, the Ever Diadem and the SBI Antares, who responded to the mayday calls sent out by the crew of the Hsiang Fuh No. 6 shortly after they abandoned ship in two lifeboats on Sunday.

News of the two injured sailors were only communicated on Tuesday morning.

Fletcher said rescue paramedics were dispatched aboard the rescue craft Eikos Rescuer II. 

“On arrival on the scene, NSRI medics and the Netcare 911 rescue paramedic were transferred onto the ship and the injured sailor was treated for severe burns, suffering approximately 40 percent 2nd and 3rd degree burns, and he was stabilised and a second patient, a 63-year-old Chinese survivor, was treated for soft tissue injuries to his right knee,” said Fletcher.

“An SA Air Force (SAAF) 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter had by that stage been dispatched carrying 3 Netcare 911 rescue paramedics and on arrival on the scene 2 rescue paramedics were hoisted onto the ship and they assisted with stabilising the 2 patients and both patients were hoisted into the helicopter, in 2 relays, in a helicopter rescue basket.” 

The 29-year-old Filipino man was reported to be in a serious but stable condition, while the 63-year-old Chinese sailor was in a stable condition in hospital.

“Both ships, with all remaining 28 survivors of the Taiwanese trawler, who are not injured, remain at anchorage off-shore of the Port of Durban and the 2 ships are waiting for permission from the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) to enter Port where once safely berthed the survivors will disembark into the care of authorities.”

Fletcher said an all ships alert was being broadcast to warn other vessels of the abandoned remaining wreckage of the fishing trawler which was adrift. 

– African News Agency (ANA)