Prayers at Howick Falls as search for missing doctor enters 4th day

2019-11-01 15:00
Members of police search and rescue use a rope to climb down a pathway to the base of Howick Falls. PHOTO: Moeketsi Mamane

Members of police search and rescue use a rope to climb down a pathway to the base of Howick Falls. PHOTO: Moeketsi Mamane

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The search for missing doctor Vidwan Singh enters its fourth day today after rescue teams still found no sign of him while scouring Howick Falls on Thursday. 

Divers from the police’s search and rescue division combed another section of the large pool at the bottom of the falls, braving cold, wet and misty conditions.

Meanwhile, the community has rallied around Singh’s family and rescue workers, and begun collecting food and items for them.

Singh (72), a well-known doctor from Raisethorpe, went missing on Tuesday afternoon. His white BMW was found near the Howick Falls area. The rear was smashed on the right side.

Singh’s whereabouts are still a matter of speculation, with neither police nor members of his family ready to jump to any conclusions. His family again held prayers at the viewing point of the Falls.

Police divers had on Tuesday focused on one side of the Falls where bodies are usually recovered, but found nothing.

On Thursday, they focused on other parts. Search teams from Durban and Port Shepstone have been called in to assist search operations.

Divers and police dogs had to navigate sharp, wet rocks yesterday and brave cold conditions. The water below the falls is dark and murky, and divers, guided in part by police dogs, have to navigate by feeling around. Divers are cautious of getting too close to the centre of the water, where the current is very strong.

A police dog’s paw was cut on a sharp rock while searching on Tuesday.

Before the divers went in, members of search and rescue went to the top of the waterfall to survey the area.

They began diving at about 11 am and wrapped up their operations late yesterday afternoon. The poor weather conditions meant the number of people watching the rescue operations dwindled compared to Wednesday.

Singh’s brother-in-law, Neren Anand, said the family were more emotionally stable yesterday, adding they have been overwhelmed by the support from the Howick community.

He said Singh’s surgery on Chota Motala (Old Greytown) road, which he has worked from for about 40 years, is closed at the moment. “The family is hopeful that he’ll be found.”

He said: “It feels like a dream, it doesn’t feel real. He was a pillar of strength for everyone, and we’re at a loss as to what happened to him. The community has made us feel comfortable and they have been praying for us.”

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joshua Maistry said searches would continue on Friday.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  missing person
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