Missing Ironman contestant's body recovered in Port Elizabeth harbour

The body of David Bellet-Brissaud, the 48-year-old triathlete from Gabon, was found by police in the Port Elizabeth harbour on Thursday.

Police spokesperson, Colonel Pricilla Naidu, confirmed that his body had been recovered shortly before 16:00 after dogs from the PE search and rescue unit had alerted them that there could be a body in the vicinity.

Naidu said when the dogs reacted, they had sent divers into the water, and within ten minutes they had located Bellet-Brissaud.

She said the body had been kept below the surface of the water by a tyre tied with a rope to his feet.

The athlete, who had been accompanied by his wife, Lydia, was in Port Elizabeth to compete in the Standard Bank Ironman African Championship last weekend.

Bellet-Brissaud never took part in the competition as he disappeared from the Paxton Hotel, where he was staying, in the early hours of Friday before the event.

READ: Ironman contestant disappears in the middle of the night

Police have been concentrating their search around the harbour, after CCTV from Transnet surfaced on Monday, that showed Bellet-Brissaud entering the harbour.

Naidu said accompanying CCTV footage of a man leaping between the chokka boats had been mistakenly identified as Bellet-Brissaud.

"Additional CCTV footage was obtained and reviewed by police, which showed David walking along another jetty, which is close to where the body has been recovered," she said.

Bellet-Brissaud's brother Gael Bellet-Brissaud and sister Vanessa Perret Bellet-Brissaud, had both travelled from Gabon to help in the search.

The family had also upped their initial reward offering from R12 000 to R150 000 on Thursday morning, for information on their brother's whereabouts.

READ: Family offer reward for info on missing Ironman competitor

Naidu said the body had been positively identified as Bellet-Brissaud by his brother Gael.

She said no foul play was suspected and an inquest docket had been opened.

Warrant Officer Ettiene Gerber with Misty, the dog that helped to locate David Bellet-Brissaud. (Supplied)


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