Diver dies trapped in shipwreck

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Smitswinkel Ba INLSA File photo: Brenton Geach


Cape Town - A diver taking part in a trip to a shipwreck died after becoming trapped in the ship’s engine room.

The 56-year-old man from Constantia went diving in a group of seven at the MV Rockeater shipwreck off Smitswinkel Bay near Cape Point on Saturday.

The wreck is one of five that make up an artificial reef.

The divers launched their boat at Miller’s Point and dived 34m down to the wreck.

According to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), the divers said the man went down for a second dive, but failed to resurface. They raised the alarm.

A search party went to look for him and resumed the search on Sunday.

The search was carried out by NSRI Simon’s Town, the Skymed helicopter, police and Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

Police dive scene co-ordinator Douglas Jones and his diving team found the man’s body in the engine room of the wreck at midday on Sunday.

“After the ship sank, passageways were cut in it, carving ways for fish and for human exploration. The diver somehow managed to get lost in the pathways and wound up in the old engine room at the back of the ship,” said Jones.

The ship was scuttled in 1972 and has become a popular diving spot. EMS spokesman Robert Daniels said the wreck was so huge it was searched one section at a time.


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