Missing Midmar Mile swimmer’s body found

2015-02-11 00:00

THE parents of missing Midmar Mile swimmer Tristan Dennis yesterday watched from afar as his body was ­being lifted out the water, too ­distraught to watch it up close.

An hour earlier, just as the mist was lifting, early morning paddler Rob McDonald saw Dennis’s body ­floating on his back on the water just after 6 am. He paddled to the bank, and drove to where the police search and rescue team were preparing to continue day four of the search.

In all this, concerned family ­members were at the dam, hoping for any news. But yesterday, parents Frank and Veronica kept vigil from the other side of the dam, later ­tasking his brother Tarquin to ­identify the body at the morgue.

Dennis, from Morningside in ­Durban, was reported missing last Saturday at the aQuellé Midmar Mile, when he failed to emerge from the water once his race was over.

McDonald yesterday recalled ­vividly the moment when he saw Dennis’s body. “I was crossing the ­area near the dam wall. It’s not my usual route and I’m not sure what made me cut across the dam instead of paddling around the edge like I ­normally do,” McDonald said.

“There was all this mist surrounding me and all of a sudden, a body floated up in front of me. I got quite a fright,” said McDonald.

He immediately went to alert the rescue team.

A source who could not named said the thought of seeing their son’s body was too much for his parents.

Dennis family spokesperson Justin Mcgarry said there was some relief that Dennis’s body had been found, but the situation was still tough for the family to deal with.

“It was eating everyone up last night, but at least now we have some closure. We needed this.”

He said the family had a “total breakdown” when they heard ­Dennis’s body had been found, but were grateful for the way the police had handled it all.

“SAPS let us know straight away. They kept us updated every step of the way and the family found peace in the way they handled the situation.

“We had that little bit of hope that they would find him and that he would be alright, but now we know,” he said.

The source said the body had been found in the exact line the K9 Unit dogs had mapped out earlier.

Another source said the search was a tough one, as the wind was strong during the four days of the search and there was extremely poor visibility. He said those involved in the search had pushed themselves to the limit to find Dennis’s body.

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

‘We now have closure’

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