Dorian Robertson, NSRI Richards Bay station commander, said:
At 13h55 on Wednesday the 13th of September, NSRI Richards Bay duty crew were alerted by the iSimangaliso Wetland Park personnel of a 36 year old Pretoria man, reported to now be living in London and on holiday with family in Sodwana Bay, missing in the surf at Jesser Point, Sodwana Bay. He reportedly got into difficulty in the surf and was swept out to sea by rip currents.
The missing man had been snorkeling in the water with a friend when they were caught in strong rip currents. The friend was able to reach the shore and raise the alarm.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park personnel, a Coral Divers boat, a Sodwana Bay Lodge Scuba Centre boat, and rescue divers from Coral Divers and from Sodwana Bay Lodge Scuba Centre were engaged in an extensive search and rescue operation including free dive search, and a sea and shoreline search, but no sign of the man, who had been witnessed disappearing under water, had been found. A Police Search and Rescue squad had been activated.
NSRI Richards Bay duty crew and a Transnet National Ports Authority rescue helicopter were placed on alert.
The extensive search continued until after dark and at low tide shore patrols were conducted in the early hours of the morning.
At first light on Thursday, 14th September, a Police Search and Rescue dive squad conducted a free dive search and the man’s body was located and recovered from the water. Sadly he has been declared deceased.
His body has been taken into the care of the Forensic Pathology Services and Police have opened an inquest docket.
Family are being assisted by Police, iSimangaliso Wetland Park personnel and Lodge personnel.
NSRI commend the iSimangaliso Wetland Park personnel, Coral Divers, Sodwana Bay Lodge Scuba Centre and the Police Search and Rescue squad for their efforts.
NSRI and the emergency services convey their sincere condolences to his family and friends.
TO REPORT A SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY DIAL 112 FROM A CELLPHONE