4 young South Africans presumed drowned in Mozambique, but father remains 'hopeful'

2019-01-17 13:04

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Four South Africans are still missing after going for a swim off an island in Mozambique on Monday.

According to the Letaba Herald, a group of eight young people in their 20s took a boat cruise to Inhaca Island on Monday.

Five members of the group reportedly went swimming, but were swept away from shore by a strong current. One managed to make it back to shore, but the other four – two men and two women – have been missing since 15:00 on Monday.

The Middelburg Observer reported that search parties had been unsuccessful in finding the four missing swimmers.

Nico Motsepe, the father of Lesego, 19, one of the missing women, told News24 that search-and-rescue attempts could not continue on Thursday owing to weather conditions.

Motsepe, who is in Mozambique along with some of the parents of the other missing swimmers, said efforts would continue on Friday.

"It is very stressful, as you can imagine," Motsepe said.

'Dangerous' waters

Phillip Strydom, the chairperson of the Mozambique Foreign Business Chamber, told News24 on Thursday that the four swimmers had not yet been found.

"Those waters are some of the most dangerous along the coast," said Strydom.

"It is notoriously dangerous and there are no lifesavers there."

Strydom recalled that South Africans had drowned in those waters as far back as the 1960s.

The Letaba Herald reported that the group of friends are from Groblersdal in Limpopo.

According to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco), Minister Lindiwe Sisulu was briefed on Thursday on the rescue and consular services efforts in relation to the four South Africans.

Presumed drowned

The statement, issued by spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya, said that the four were presumed to have drowned.

"Dirco, through the High Commission in Maputo, is working with local authorities to provide assistance to family members who have arrived in Mozambique to help with the search for their loved ones," Mabaya said.

"The High Commissioner in Mozambique, HE Mphahlwa, and staff at the mission, [are] working to assist the families and to offer all necessary consular services. Dirco, is in constant communication with the High Commissioner as the search and rescue continues, and we hope that they can still be found alive."

Dirco said it had been in contact with the premier's office in Limpopo, as well as the families.

According to the Middelburg Observer, a South African expat said that a large number of boats, as well as a helicopter, were participating in the search.

Despite the friends being missing for three days, Motsepe said he remained "hopeful".

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Read more on:    mozambique  |  drowning
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