Two men drowned at the Wolfgat Nature Reserve on the False Bay coast near Monwabisi beach, at noon yesterday. The spot, on a stretch of coast notorious for drownings, is well known for strong rip currents.
The men were part of a group from the Tafelsig-based drug rehabilitation centre, James Restoration Home, and had gone to the beach for a team building exercise that was to be filmed for TV by a Fokus crew.
According to the Cape Times, eyewitness Nathan Spocter saw several of the group in the water. He heard a scream and then saw one of the group, Brett Florence, helping a man out of the water and then returned to assist Ashley Haas,27.
Spocter said,”I was two metres away from Ashley. He shouted ‘Help me, Help me’
“But the current was too strong and he was taken down.”
He did not see how Brett Florence,25, was swept away.
Craig Lambinon said that the men were in waist deep water when it happened. “ There were about nine rip currents in a 50 metre stretch. They were really strong. It was so hectic, you couldn’t miss them.”
Both men held leadership positions at the centre.
“An extensive air, sea and shore search has revealed no sign of the missing men, who are both presumed to have drowned.”
“Due to the rough sea conditions, with swells up to a metre and a half and strong winds, a scuba dive search could not be launched immediately by police divers who used a rigid inflatable craft and a jet-ski to continue a search well into the afternoon.
“Police Divers will reassess conditions today to consider options for a continuing search and to see if sea conditions allow for a dive search, said Craig.
The tragedy comes just four days after NSRI put out a warning about rip currents. Full moon was on Saturday, which is when the tidal difference was at its greatest. But the effect on the tides – and stronger than usual rip currents – would be felt for a few days on either side of the full moon.