Shelly Beach - Diver Missing Update
Mark Harlen, NSRI Shelly Beach station commander, said:
“Jean-Pierre Els, 30, from Uvongo, Shelly Beach, the dive master of African Dive Adventures, who went missing this morning (Tuesday, 26th February), 5 nautical miles off Shelly Beach, on the Kwa-Zulu Natal South Coast, at Protea Banks, while conducting a group charter dive, was located by the Transnet National Ports Authority rescue helicopter at 15h20 off-shore of Port Edward, approximately 45 kilometers (24 nautical miles) from where he originally went missing.
An NSRI rescue swimmer was deployed into the water from the rescue helicopter to secure the casualty who was then winch hoisted into the rescue helicopter and airlifted to shore to our NSRI Shelly Beach rescue base.
Despite exhaustion, dehydration and some sunburn he is not injured and he will not need to be hospitalized.
It appears that he was separated from the dive charter group, at around 08h00, while diving and when he surfaced from the dive he had no sight of the dive charter boat. He drifted for over 7 hours in the 2 to 3 meter rough sea swell and a 30 knot wind until he was found.
In total we deployed the Transnet National Ports Authority rescue helicopter, 2 NSRI Shelly Beach sea rescue craft, 1 NSRI Port Edward sea rescue craft and there were 5 private boats assisting in the search. (Two of the private boats assisting in the operation are also from African Dive Adventures).
NSRI commend all involved in this sea rescue operation for their cooperation and assistance.”