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Rescuers search for 11 fishermen missing at sea in South Africa

Rescuers search for 11 fishermen missing at sea in South Africa
South African flags are seen in Pretoria, South Africa, on Dec 11, 2013
PHOTO: Reuters

JOHANNESBURG - Search and rescue efforts were underway in South Africa on Saturday (May 18) to find 11 fishermen missing at sea after their vessel sunk off the coast of Cape Town, the fisheries department said.

Nine fishermen who had managed to deploy an emergency craft were rescued, the department said in a statement.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the missing fishermen and their families as we await news of the search and rescue operation," fisheries minister Barbara Creecy said.

According to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) rescue efforts were activated on Friday following reports of a fishing vessel sinking approximately 30 nautical miles offshore of the Atlantic Seaboard.

"A Mayday distress call, intercepted by Telkom Maritime Radio Services at 1530 (local time), was relayed to vessels in the area that responded to assist," NSRI said in a statement on Saturday.


"At least five fishing vessels reached the search area locating and recovering nine of 20 local fishermen from a life raft."

The cause of the fishing vessel sinking was unknown, the NSRI added.

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