The remains of a scuba diver, who is believed to have been bitten by a shark, were recovered in South Coast, KwaZulu-Natal, on Wednesday afternoon.
This is according to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), which issued a statement on Wednesday evening that said the crew of a private fishing boat located the man’s remains, which were then recovered from the water on a sea rescue craft and brought to shore.
The NSRI further stated that the man was identified as a 68-year-old Austrian citizen, and his remains had been taken into the care of the Forensic Pathology Services. The NSRI said police had opened an inquest docket. Initially, the NSRI had reported that the man was German but on Thursday, the institute clarified that he was in fact Austrian and said, “NSRI express sincere thanks to both the German and Austrian Consulates who assisted in this incident.”
NSRI Shelly Beach and Port Edward, as well as the police’s search and rescue, were activated at 1.45pm on Wednesday after reports that the scuba diver had gone missing during a dive at the Northern Pinnacle, Protea Banks.
The other divers in the group on a charter scuba dive had said they had been surfacing when the man disappeared, said the NSRI.
“The NSRI Shelly Beach sea rescue craft Caltex Challenger and Spirit of Dawn, the NSRI Port Edward sea rescue craft Wild Coast Sun Rescuer and a Police Search and Rescue boat launched to join a search operation already under way by multiple private boats and by charter boats and on arrival on the scene a coordinated search, assisted also by the Transnet National Ports Authority, Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, NSRI Durban and Telkom Maritime Radio Services, continued,” said NSRI.
“The SA Police Service, Medevac ambulance services and Hibiscus Fire and Rescue Services also responded to stand by at the NSRI Shelly Beach sea rescue base.”
Further, a Natal Sharks Board fixed-wing aircraft was placed on alert and the NSRI Air Sea Rescue and an SA Air Force 15 Squadron Augusta helicopter were activated.
“An extensive drift pattern and sweeping line search operation were conducted utilising the three sea rescue crafts, the police search and rescue boat, private boats, private fishing boats and charter boats and police divers conducted a scuba dive search,” said the NSRI, adding it was during this search that the remains of the man were found and it was believed he had been bitten by a shark.
– Caxton News Service