Cape Town boat capsizes: Peter Hyett dies in Hout Bay

A British man has died after a tourist boat carrying 39 people capsized during a seal-watching trip in South Africa.

Peter Hyett, 64, believed to be originally from Bournemouth, Dorset, and who had moved to Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, was one of two to die.

His wife, Suzanne, 63, and her daughter Helen, 37, were also on the boat in Hout Bay, Cape Town, on Saturday.

A Cardiff woman, Lynette Hartman, survived after three hours trapped.

The catamaran, Miroshga, capsized near Duiker Island, about 3km (1.8 miles) from Hout Bay, the South African National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said.

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Media captionBrad Geyser from South Africa's National Sea Rescue Institute on why the boat capsized

The boat had been heading to the island, a popular seal colony off the Atlantic coast.

Two other British citizens were trapped in the hull for almost four hours before they could be freed late on Saturday, the rescuers said.

The Press Association said it was reported that the body of South African tour guide John Roberts was found after the rescue effort.

Ms Hartman survived after being trapped in an air pocket under the catamaran.

Another British woman, Bronwyn Armstrong, was also rescued from beneath the hull.

Ms Hartman's mother Joan Hartman said: "They had to tread water constantly for a couple of hours in the water before they were found.

"Lynette said she was kicking all the time they were trapped and shouting for help."

Mrs Hartman explained that her daughter and Ms Armstrong were given breathing equipment and emergency scuba training by police diver in pitch darkness.

They then persuaded the pair to remove their life jackets to swim down and clear of the hull.

Craig Lambinon at NRSI told BBC Radio Wales that three sea rescue stations responded to the emergency.

"On arrival on scene they found that quite a lot of people had already been rescued by other boats... that were nearby at the time," said Mr Lambinon.

"Further people were rescued out of the water, or people found clinging onto the hull of the upturned catamaran."

Image caption NSRI volunteers communicated with the survivors trapped in the hull

Mr Lambinon said CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation) was carried out on Mr Hyett all the way back to Hout Bay, where the rescuers were met by emergency doctors and paramedics. But despite all efforts to resuscitate him he died.

With four people still missing, Mr Lambinon said rescue swimmers were put onto the upturned hull of the boat.

"They got a knocking back from inside the hull which told us that there were still people trapped inside the vessel and still alive," he said.

Rescue divers were sent into the hull and two women also from the UK were rescued and transported to hospital, he added.

It was reported that the Hyett family had been on holiday in Cape Town since 1 October and were due to return home on Sunday.


Brad Geyser, NSRI joint operations commander at Hout Bay, said Mr Hyett's body was recovered by divers on Sunday.

"The body is to be handed into the care of the forensic pathology services," said Mr Geyser.

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Media caption'A massive emergency response'

"The family of the man are in the care of the NSRI commanders and police trauma counsellors."

Mr Hyett worked at the Vale of Glamorgan council for six years as a training officer before retiring in 2008.

Training and development manager Alan Williams called Mr Hyett a generous, well-respected member of staff and said colleagues had been shocked and saddened by his death.

"He was always courteous in his support to colleagues who sought him out to give trusted sound advice on a whole range of personnel issues.

"Even after he retired he was still asked to deliver workshops for the council, a true testimony to his ability and the respect in which his colleagues held him," he added.

Ms Hartman's brother Keith said she had been on holiday with her partner Colin and her son Matthew.

Mr Hartman said that when the boat overturned his sister was trapped in the hull for two hours.

"She had diesel in her eyes which made her lose her sight for a while," he said. "She had to go into hospital after being rescued and wash her eyes out.

Image caption The charter boat was carrying 39 passengers to a popular seal-watching spot off the Cape Town coast

"Thankfully she is back to normal now."

Mr Hartman said his sister had lost her mobile phone when the vessel overturned so he had been unable to contact her after learning of the incident.

"But my sister managed to get through," he said. "We are just glad she is fine."

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: "Several British nationals were also hospitalised following the incident, most of whom have now been released.

"Our consul general went to the port immediately after the incident and we are providing consular assistance to all those that need it."

An investigation into the incident is being launched and inquests will be opened, the NSRI said.

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