Body of missing swimmer recovered

2014-02-14 00:00

THE body of Johannesburg businessperson Thabo van Straten, who went missing while swimming the Midmar Mile on Saturday, was finally recovered yesterday.

It floated to the surface of Midmar Dam around 4.30 in the afternoon, at about the midpoint of the race course, after five days of intense searching.

The police search and rescue team’s Lieutenant Jack Haskins, who had been camping out on the banks of the dam since Saturday, said they were happy to have finally brought closure to Van Straten’s family by recovering his body.

A large search and rescue team had been deployed, along with four sniffer dogs, to search the dam.

Police spokesperson Captain Lolly Moodley said the body was discovered in the general area indicated by the dogs. “What happens is that the dogs smell the gases released by the body and indicate the area to be searched. We put out markers for the divers to search, and those markers were off by five metres.”

If not weighed down or trapped underwater, the body of a drowning victim normally takes three to five days to float to the surface, depending on the water temperature.

Van Straten was reported missing by his fiancée Shene Jones, who had accompanied him to the competition, when she failed to find him after his race.

When he was confirmed missing, his family — his mother and two sisters — had driven down from Johannesburg to join Jones as the search continued.

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