Relatives visit Eastern Cape beach where 2 soldiers disappeared

2016-04-26 12:30

Cape Town – Relatives have visited the beach at Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape where two South African soldiers disappeared under the surf, the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) said on Tuesday.

Staff Sergeant Mcedisi Rudolf Mandyu, 48, and Private Themba Nelson Sithole, 27, were off duty when they went missing at sea from Second Beach on April 16.

Rescue officials and police were still actively searching for them, said SANDF spokesperson Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga.

The men’s families travelled to the area last week. "They are still there now. They went to the beach," said Mabanga.

Mandyu was based in  Worcester and worked at the SA Army Infantry School in Oudtshoorn. 

Sithole, based in Rustenburg, worked at the 1 Para Battalion in Bloemfontein.

"At this stage, all we are able to provide is the moral support in terms of psychological assistance. There isn’t much we can do. We are still just hoping we can find the people alive or find the bodies," Mabanga told News24.

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said at the time that the men had got into difficulty in the surf.

"It appears that while swimming one man got into difficulty in the surf and according to reports a man went into the surf to attempt to assist, but he too got into difficulty and eye-witnesses reported both men disappeared under water," said NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon.

An extensive sea and shoreline search was carried out that weekend, but came to naught.

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