Cape Town - As the search continued on Sunday for Reagan Fredericks, 30, who was swept away in the Keyser River last Thursday, the bodies of two others who drowned as the province was hit by torrential rainfall over the past week have been found.
The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) joined the search for Fredericks on Sunday, with its rescue craft searching in Zandvlei, leading towards the Zandvlei estuary mouth in Muizenberg.
“Search efforts have included patrols searching along the banks of the Keyser River, the Zandvlei Estuary and surrounding wetland area using foot patrols, canoes, drone aerial search efforts and rescue craft.
“Imperial Yacht Club, Peninsular Canoe Club and public members in that area are requested to keep a lookout.
“Sadly, there remains no signs of missing Reagan Fredericks and the police, assisted by the emergency services and community neighbourhood watch groups, are continuing in ongoing search efforts and investigations,” the NSRI said in a statement.
In the Overberg region, a person drowned, allegedly while attempting to cross a flooded river on Saturday.
Police spokesperson Joseph Swartbooi said police divers were deployed to Buffelsjachsriver, where they searched for the body.
“We can confirm that the SAPS divers located the body this morning (Sunday) and brought it to safety.
“The unknown victim was declared deceased on the scene by the medical personnel. Swellendam police registered an inquest for further investigation,” he said.
The Western Cape Disaster Management Department said a 64-year-old man was found dead at his flooded home after allegedly refusing to be relocated with other Vredendal residents.
"The circumstances surrounding the incident are still under investigation,” Swartbooi said.
“Reports suggest that the body of a 64-year-old man was taken from a house on Arbeidsgenot Farm, in Vredendal this morning (Sunday) at 10.15am. An autopsy will be conducted to confirm the cause of death. Vredendal SAPS registered an inquest for further investigation."
Provincial police spokesperson Andrè Traut said that by Thursday about 54 people had been brought to safety with the Western Cape Diving Unit, which was deployed in the rural town of Wolseley, assisting local authorities with a rescue operation.
“A huge portion of the local community has been affected when people were trapped in their houses as a result of the high rainfall experienced in the area.
“Vehicle mobility has been compromised and rubber ducks have been used to reach the flood victims,” said Traut.
Meanwhile, humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers was working with the provincial Disaster Centre with large-scale relief operations and evacuations in areas including Citrusdal, where homes were flooded.
Affected families have been accommodated at the Oranjeville Community Hall.
“Blankets, mattresses, non-perishable food, hygiene items, sanitary pads, diapers and bottled water will be deeply appreciated.
“School uniforms, stationery and food parcels will have to follow.
“Gift of the Givers teams are committed to serve and are currently deployed in Gugulethu, KTC, Nyanga, Khayelitsha, Langa, Bishop Lavis, Mitchells Plain, Grabouw, Chatsworth, Atlantis, Strand and Villiersdorp.
We will be expanding the deployment to Breede Valley, TheewatersKloof and Saldanha Bay,” they said.