Divers searching for man after party boat sinks

2010-11-19 19:57

Johannesburg - Police divers were by 19:20 on Friday still searching for a man presumed to have drowned in a leisure boat accident in Witbank Dam, Mpumalanga police said.

"We have police divers out there looking for him, but are assessing the situation to see whether we should resume the search tomorrow morning. It's dark here," Captain Leonard Hlathi told Sapa.

The man was believed to have been on the double-decker leisure boat when it sank during a Christmas office party on Friday afternoon.

Two men, including the missing man, and four women drowned.

ER24 paramedic Vanessa Jackson said 21 people were celebrating on the double-decker leisure boat when it sank at Barham Bay, a resort on the dam.

"Bystanders and witnesses to the incident quickly entered the water and attempted to swim to the boat and help some of the injured to shore," Jackson said in a statement.

Fifteen people were able to make it to shore and sustained only minor injuries.

Hlathi said some fishermen rushed into the water to help. A short while after the boat sank, the bodies of two women were discovered.

Said Jackson: "Almost an hour after the initial incident, a further three people, two woman and a man, had been brought to the surface, and they too were sadly pronounced deceased."

It was not yet known what caused the boat to sink.