Three South African Navy submariners died after they were washed off the deck of the submarine SAS Manthatisi in the Western Cape. According to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), the incident happened just before 15:00 on Wednesday.  

The submarine was en route to Cape Town where a navy festival is scheduled for this weekend.

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The South African National Defence Force has released the identities of the three naval officers.  


In a statement, the SANDF identified the officers as Lieutenant Commander Gillian Elizabeth Hector, Master Warrant Officer William Masela Mathipa and Warrant Officer Class One Mmokwapa Lucas Mojela.

“It is with deep sadness that the SANDF announces the tragic loss of three SA Navy submariners off Kommetjie on 20 September on board the SAS MANTHATISI. The families of the diseased members have been notified and military Chaplains and Social Workers are offering support to the family.”

“The VERTREP evolution was immediately canceled and efforts were launched to recover the members,” said the department on Thursday.

“A surface swimmer was dispatched from the helicopter to assist with the rescue. The recovery operation was negatively affected by rough sea conditions.

“A distress call was made to Cape Town Radio who then dispatched the NSRI from Kommetjie. All seven members were recovered, but there were three fatalities with one senior officer in critical condition,” they said.

“The remaining members, including the surface swimmer, are being treated in hospital. An inquiry will also be convened in due course, it said.”