Missing KZN rangers' canoe found

2012-06-25 16:02
A confiscated canoe that two field rangers were using when they disappeared has been found, Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife says. (Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife)

A confiscated canoe that two field rangers were using when they disappeared has been found, Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife says. (Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife)

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Johannesburg - A confiscated canoe that two field rangers were using when they disappeared has been found, Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife said on Monday.

Rangers Mbazwani Mhlongo, 57, and Phumlani Mthembu, 34, went missing at Lake Nhlabane, in the Enseleni Nature Reserve, on Friday, spokesperson Musa Mntambo said in a statement.

Searches of the area led to the discovery of the canoe they were last seen in, but Mhlongo and Mthembu had not been found by 1.30pm on Monday.

A police helicopter and sniffer dogs had also joined the search.

Mhlongo had worked at Enseleni Nature Reserve since 1976.

"He was recently honoured during the Ezemvelo's excellency awards as the 2011 best field ranger," Mntambo said.

Mthembu joined Ezemvelo in 1995, and was recently transferred from Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park to Enseleni Nature Reserve.

The men were part of a four-man patrol that on Friday found four gill nets and a canoe at the reserve, which they decided to confiscate.

Mhlongo and Mthembu opted to paddle the canoe back to base, while the other two walked back.

On Sunday, a paddle was found, believed to be one used by the missing field rangers.

Ezemvelo Wildlife said it believed the two rangers were still alive and would not give up the search until contrary information emerged.

- SAPA

Read more on:    ezemvelo kzn wildlife  |  durban  |  search and rescue
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