Being overdue in East London, searches were initiated by the NSRI, including boats and aircraft. These proved fruitless.The seas due to the north westerly gale were reported to be very rough at the time of the tug's disappearance.
Chris Bonnet, owner of the Sunsail Maritime Academy, commented on the loss of The Hawk.
"Her height out of the water was very low and the open deck would have made her susceptible to breaking seas".
He went on to surmise "that the tug boat would have been swamped by heavy seas from the rear and probably sank quickly".
This would appear to be another example of abnormally large waves and troughs off the Wild Coast, probably claiming yet another vessel without much chance for crew to save themselves.