During an ongoing search operation this morning at 04h58, at Woody Cape, NSRI rescuers and SA National Parks Rangers located and recovered the body of the missing woman on the beach at Woody Cape.
NSRI have handed her body into the care of the Police and the Forensic Pathology Services.
The 3 survivors are a 41 year old man and a male and a female, both 18 years old.
The body of the deceased found on the beach last night is a 21 year old woman and the body of the deceased found on the beach this morning is a 19 year old woman.
All are British Citizens.
NSRI, The British Consulate, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation and Police are assisting the group of health volunteers, made up of South Africans and British volunteers, who were staying together at Woody Cape on a voluntary mission, when 5 people from the group of 43 went swimming last night and were caught in strong rip-currents.
British Authorities are assisting families abroad of the two deceased women.
The 3 survivors were released from hospital this morning.
Original media releases below…
NSRI are currently assisting in the PE 2 EL surf-ski challenge that started in Port Elizabeth this morning, Thursday, 04 December and the end of day 1, leg 1, ended at Woody Cape, between Port Elizabeth and Port Alfred.
At the end of day one, Thursday, 04th December, at Woody Cape, 75 km East of Port Elizabeth, on the coastline between Port Elizabeth and Port Alfred, all surf-skiers were accounted for and settling down for the evening before the start of day two, Friday, 05th December, when, at 20h00, at the Woody Cape Resort and Backpackers Lodge, NSRI volunteers were having dinner when they heard cries for help coming from the beach.
NSRI volunteers immediately proceeded to investigate the cries for help and found 5 British Nationals, all part of a volunteer group who are in the area at the time conducting health volunteering, and who had gone for a swim and were caught in rip-currents and were being swept out to sea by rip currents. (They are not taking part in the surf-ski challenge).
NSRI rescue swimmers went into the surf to go to the aid of the 5 people, reaching them 100 meters out to sea and managing to rescue 3 safely, recovering the body of one and the 5th person remains missing in the surf line.
The 3 survivors, two males and a female, showed signs of near drowning symptoms and were treated by NSRI medics before being transported to hospital for observation for Secondary Drowning.
SA National Parks Rangers also responded to assist.
The body of the deceased, a female, has been handed into the care of the Police and the Forensic Pathology Services.
Despite an extensive search no sign of the missing person, a female, has been found and a search will resume at first light.
Juan Pretorius, NSRI Port Alfred station commander, said that the NSRI volunteers just happened to be there at the time because of the stand-by that the NSRI are doing for the surf-ski challenge, and while braaing dinner at the end of day one of the surf-ski challenge, on hearing cries for help coming from the beach front, NSRI rescuers raced to the beach and found multiple people being swept out to sea in rip currents.
Juan said that the NSRI rescue swimmers launched into the surf and managed to pull three survivors, two males and a female, safely to a sand bank.
Later a body of a female was found washed up on the beach and it was confirmed, from the three survivors, that five of them had gone for a swim when they were caught in rip-currents, leaving one person, a female unaccounted for.
A search, conducted by the NSRI rescue swimmers in strong rip currents, revealed no sign of the missing female before conditions became too dangerous for the NSRI rescue swimmers to continue searching in the surf-line and the decision was made to suspend the search until first light.
Police will open an inquest docket for the deceased female and a missing persons report will be opened for investigation related to the missing female.
NSRI are urging the public to be extremely cautious around the coast over the next 7 days. Spring Tide peaks with the full moon on Saturday 6th of December, bringing higher than normal high tides, lower than normal low tides and hence stronger than normal rip-currents. As a result of the Spring Tide the coastline is at its most dangerous during this period because of these stronger than normal rip-currents.
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