Richards Bay, 27 July, 2008. United Kingdom National missing in the surf:
Mark Hughes, NSRI Richards Bay Station Commander, said: “NSRI Richards Bay volunteers were alerted at 14h10 following reports of a 24 year old male from Manchester, United Kingdom, missing in the surf at the main beach at St Lucia, approximately 40 nautical miles North of Richards Bay on the East Coast.
“An NSRI Richards Bay crew member happened to be on the beach when the incident occurred and sounded the alarm while commencing a search.
“We dispatched a rescue craft towed to the scene by our sea rescue vehicle and launched on scene. The KZN-EMRS Red Cross AMS helicopter, SA Police Services, KZN Wildlife Rangers and Netcare 911 Ambulance Services responded.
“On arrival on-scene a full-scale search commenced but by last light and following an extensive air, sea and shore search no sign of the missing man has been found.
“KZN-Wildlife Rangers are continuing to conduct shore patrols tonight and KZN-Wildlife Rangers and a Police Dive Unit will continue to conduct shore patrols and a sea search from first light.
“The missing man is the expedition leader, leading 15 students (“challengers” from Wootton Basset School), 3 teachers and an ex pupil, taking part in a World Challenge Expedition that has reportedly covered terrain on a “trekking expedition” over the North Eastern part of South Africa over the past three and a half weeks and due to return to the United Kingdom this coming Wednesday.
“It appears that the man went missing in the surf while he and a colleague went to the rescue a group of their students who had gotten into difficulty in shallow surf in strong rip-currents.
“The man’s colleague and the students all made it safely out of the surf and according to eye-witness reports the missing man was instrumental in rescuing the students.
“We are in communication with the missing man’s family in the United Kingdom, the World Challenge Expedition Operations Room, The Department of Foreign Affairs and the British Authorities.”