Man disappears in rip current at St Lucia

A 22 year-old man disappeared in the surf at St Lucia Beach yesterday.

He had reportedly been standing in waist deep water in the surf line when a strong rip-current swept him out to sea. 

Dorian Robertson, NSRI Richards Bay duty coxswain, said at 5.45 pm NSRI Richards Bay volunteer sea rescue duty crew were activated following eye-witness reports of a man in difficulty in the surf at St Lucia Beach, 80 kilometers North East of Richards Bay.

 “Our NSRI Richards Bay volunteer sea rescue duty crew responded by road towing our Surf 420 sea rescue boat Rotary Anne while the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) rescue helicopter, carrying two NSRI rescue swimmers,   KZN Wildlife rangers and Police were also responded to the scene. 

 At that stage eye-witnesses still had a visual of the man but when the rescue helicopter arrived there was no longer any sign of him. He had disappeared under water  struggling against a rip current.” 

A private boat belonging to Advantage Tours had started searching and the sea rescue boat joined in the search. Despite an extensive air, sea and shore search no sign of the man was found. He is missing and he is presumed to have drowned. 

 “The search has been suspended until first light. A Police Search and Rescue team and a Police Dive Unit will resume the search for the missing man tomorrow (8 January).  Police have opened an inquest docket and the family of the man are being assisted by the Police.”

 (edited)

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