Marc Rodgers, NSRI Plettenberg Bay deputy station commander, said:
“At 02h00 on Saturday the 20th of June, NSRI Plettenberg Bay duty crew were activated following an eye-witness report of a red distress flare sighted off-shore approximately 15 nautical miles East of Robberg Point.
“NSRI alerted the Plettenberg Bay coast watchers to be on the look-out and an NSRI team were dispatched to observe the coastline from the shoreline closer to the sighting while investigations were initiated to determine if any vessels were overdue or any reports of missing persons that may be related to the flare.
“Telkom Maritime Radio Services broadcast an all ships alert and the yacht Sunsail 1515 reported seeing the flare but no further flares had been sighted by them.
“A Plettenberg Bay Security Company then also reported the same sighting witnessed by night security guards in Plettenberg Bay.
“NSRI Plettenberg Bay duty crew prepared a sea rescue craft to be launched but following confirmation of no vessels overdue or missing crew remained on alert and while no further flares were sighted by daylight at first light local pilot Stewart Lithgow volunteered his private aerobatics aircraft and flew an aerial search of the area but no sign of any vessel in distress was found.
“With still no reports of any persons or vessels reported overdue or missing by Sunday NSRI Plettenberg Bay have been released from alert status to return to normal stand-by status.
“The origin of the flare and the reason for a red distress flare being deployed at 2a.m. East of Robberg Point remains a mystery.”