British man dies in seal trip boat tragedy near Cape Town, South Africa
A BRITISH man has died after a charter boat on a seal-watching tour capsized near Cape Town in South Africa.
Officials yesterday confirmed the death of Peter Philip Hyett, 64, who was a passenger on the catamaran Miroshga when it overturned at about 2:15pm on Saturday. A crew member also died.
The accident occurred in rough Atlantic Ocean waters about two miles from Hout Bay – a popular tourist destination south of Cape Town.
The married man from the Vale of Glamorgan, in Wales, was on the final day of a two-week holiday in South Africa with wife Suzanne, 63, and daughter Helen, 37, when the tragedy struck.
Navy divers also found a second body yesterday morning confirmed as that of South African crew member John Roberts.
At least 24 of the 40 people on board, which included British, French and South African nationals, were taken to hospital with injuries.
Mr Hyett’s body was recovered, but he was declared dead on arrival at the National Sea and Rescue Institute (NSRI) Hout Bay sea rescue station.
An autopsy is due to be carried out today to determine the exact cause of death.
Mr Hyett’s wife and daughter were taken to Groote Schuur and False Bay hospitals respectively in Cape Town for treatment, but have since been discharged.
A spokesman from the City of Cape Town, Wilfred Solomons-Johannes, said: “We are offering them all the care and help we can.”
Two other British women were among the survivors, having been trapped under the boat’s hull for almost four hours.
Lynette Hartmann, 55, and Bronwyn Armstrong, whose age is unknown, survived the terrifying ordeal by finding air pockets that kept them alive in cold 5C waters.
Rescuers only found the trapped British pair after hearing a South African woman, who was also caught underneath the boat, tapping on the hull.
NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon said: “They had somehow become trapped when the boat flipped and had found an air pocket, which they were using to breathe.
“They were freezing cold as they were wearing just their life jackets and normal clothes.
Both women needed treatment for advanced hypothermia, but were released from hospital early yesterday.
The South African Maritime Safety Authority has been ordered to investigate the cause of the accident. It is believed the vessel may have flipped in rough conditions after being struck by a large wave.
Alternative reports had water leaking into the pleasure boat’s electric engines, causing a loss of power that halted the vessel and led to it flooding and capsizing.
Two other charter boats came to the stricken vessel’s aid.
A British Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokeswoman said: “Our Consul General went to the port immediately after the accident and we are providing consular assistance to all those who need it.”
The boat had been bound for nearby Duiker Island to see a colony of cape fur seals when it capsized midway through the 45-minute cruise.
The service is run by local firm Southern Ambition Marine Safaris.
In a statement, the tour company’s operations manager Gert Strauss said: “Our sincerest condolences go to the families of the victims.
“The accident is under official investigation and we are collaborating with the South African Marine Safety Authority and other authorities to see a speedy conclusion to the inquiry.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 2 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 21 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 5 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West