Splashy festival fan disappears

2011-04-29 00:00

THE disappearance of a 23-year-old Splashy Fen festival fan at Underberg on Saturday evening has left his family and friends anxious.

They are concerned that if he is lost or hurt, he may suffer exposure as night-time temperatures plunge.

The search for Craig Steynberg, who is from Johannesburg, started on Tuesday. His family and friends became concerned when they heard from farm workers in Underberg that he was seen walking along Bushmans Nek from the Splashy Fen farm towards Underberg on Sunday.

It is believed that he left the festival venue wearing only a shirt and boxer shorts.

Said Steynberg’s friend, Dieter Volker, “At first I was not really concerned and I even left without him from Underberg to Newcastle because I thought that he had got a lift to Johannesburg from someone else.

“However, when news started emerging that he was seen walking through the bush looking confused, I became very concerned,” said

Steynberg and Volker, who have been friends since 2006, travelled together from Johannesburg to attend the five-day annual festival. There they joined a group of six friends.

“We arrived there on Thursday and slept in one tent until Saturday evening when he just disappeared. We got separated during the day on Saturday and I thought he was among the 12 000-strong crowd.

“On Sunday I was still not really concerned, and on Monday at about 1 pm I thought he had just left because he had an appointment in Johannesburg on Tuesday,” he said.

He said he phoned Steynberg’s parents from Newcastle to find out if he had arrived safely at home, but he was not there.

Steynberg has a B.Com degree in informatics from Pretoria University and was reading for a degree in language teaching at Wits University. His younger sister, Kirsten, said he was preparing to travel to Japan in July to teach English.

“My father André is in Underberg helping with the search. We are concerned that he is in danger since we are told that the temperature there is minus one degree,” she said.

Andre Steynberg, his younger brother Pierre, a Captain Conradie from the Himeville police station and Inspector Jack Haskins of Pietermaritzburg’s K9 search-and-rescue unit are participating in the search.

“We found his T-shirt, which he took off before he disappeared. Someone also gave us his cellphone, which was off, and we established that he had tried to call his mother, but the call was never answered,” said Steynberg senior.

He said they have searched the venue, a local clinic and a hospital, and put up a copy of his photo at the police station.

“We will appreciate if more people can came and help us with the search,” he said.

When contacted, Haskins said: “I can’t find anything. We received lots of information about where he was last seen, but we cannot find him.”


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