Search for swimmer enters fourth day

2011-02-16 00:00

THE ongoing search for the body of swimmer Nick Mellet, who is believed to have drowned during the 38th aQuellé Midmar Mile race on Saturday, is proving to be a mammoth task.

Members of the Police Search and Rescue Unit, Navy divers and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife joined in the search four days ago.

Jack Haskins of the Pietermaritzburg Dog Unit said yesterday, “At this stage we have not recovered his body and have now begun a visual search. I have been up in the helicopter to see if we can locate him.”

The body of the 45-year-old swimmer could be anywhere in the race area that is 1 600 m long and 400 m wide, as no one reported a swimmer in difficulty at any of the stages during the race.

“We are searching from where the swimmers were designated to swim. We put the dogs in first to begin the search then the divers follow,” he said. Haskins said the heat has not been helping.

They will use boats to conduct a visual search today, hoping the body floats to the surface.

“If we continue without any luck then we are going to monitor the dam … After some time we are going to have to re-evaluate our search methods ...” said Haskins.

He said members of Mellet’s family are staying with a good friends in Pietermaritzburg.

“The family have an ER24 trauma counsellor who is assisting them through this difficult period,” added Haskins.

The search continues today at first light.

 

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