Divers swim for safety from Aliwal Shoal

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Divers swim for safety from Aliwal Shoal

The separation of three scuba divers from their charter-boat at Aliwal Shoal in South Africa on Friday (12 May) sparked an extensive search operation – but they managed to save themselves by swimming ashore.

The divers, a French pair and an experienced local divemaster, had been on a trip to the famous shark-diving location some three miles out from Umkomaas. They surfaced away from their boat at around 2pm to find that visibility had been severely reduced by gusting wind and rain.

They waited at the spot at which they had surfaced for about 40 minutes but eventually, not knowing what had become of their vessel, decided to swim for shore. They were later found safe and uninjured near Umgababa, about eight miles north of Umkomaas.

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) in Durban had been alerted after the dive-boat crew were unable to locate the divers, and rescue boats, helicopters and land vehicle crews had been put on alert while eight local dive and private boats joined the search. The NSRI later commended the efforts of the local boat crews.

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