Ramsgate cordoned off as search for missing man continues

2011-07-11 00:00

THE search is still on for the 22-year-old Pretoria holiday-maker who is feared to have drowned at Ramsgate beach at about midnight on Thursday.

By yesterday evening, into the third day of the search, the Margate police search-and-rescue unit and the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) had not been able to locate Cobus Coetzee’s body.

Margate police spokesperson Captain Gerald Mfeka said the search was suspended until today.

He said the area is cordoned off and that the search will not stop until Coetzee’s remains are found.

“I remember a case of a woman who drowned at Uvongo some months ago. The search went on for two months until she was recovered.

“The sad part is that when drowning victims are recovered after a long time, their remains are not a good sight to see.

“The woman was headless and her legs and hands detached from the body. It is sad, yet these are the situations we have to deal with because you don’t just abandon a search for a human being,” said Mfeka.

He said the sea conditions had calmed down since Friday so the search was going ahead at a normal pace.

Coetzee’s family had been in the area since Friday.

His sister, Christelle, said they came down to the South Coast to attend a Christian conference that was held on Wednesday.

They were with three friends and had decided stay over for the remainder of the week, planning to go back home yesterday.

Christelle remained in the flat while her brother and companions went for a midnight swim.

One of the friends, Adriaan Marais, said they had not really started to swim, but somehow were caught by a wave.

He said they came out of the water and one of them noticed that Coetzee was missing, and called for help when they could not find him.

Yesterday evening NSRI’s Craig Lambinon said there was no sign of the missing man and that the search will continue.

Coetzee’s family is still in Ramsgate but attempts to get hold of his sister yesterday were unsuccessful.

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