File picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town – The body of a 43-year-old free diver who had been looking for crayfish was retrieved at Betty's Bay, 87km from Cape Town, near Pringle Bay.

The Bloubergstrand resident had been diving with a friend at the time he went missing on Sunday afternoon, Schalk Boonzaaier, the NSRI Kleinmond station commander, said on Monday.

The friend raised the alarm at 12.24pm after he got out of the water and his friend didn't resurface for some time.

"Two friends had been free diving for crayfish when one of the men got out of the water. He waited for his friend, who failed to return, and the alarm was raised," Boonzaaier said.

The NSRI Kleinmond dispatched a sea rescue vehicle and launched a sea rescue craft, while the Overberg Fire and Rescue Services, Western Cape government Health EMS, SA Police Service and the EMS/AMS Skymed rescue helicopter, accompanied by a WP Surf Lifesaving lifeguard, also responded.

"During an extensive search, a person was located by the rescue helicopter drifting below the water surface in a bay.

"A lifeguard was deployed from the Skymed helicopter, an NSRI rescue swimmer was deployed from the beach and an NSRI rescue swimmer was deployed from the sea rescue craft.

"They secured the male, bringing him to shore, where paramedics attended to the man. A 43-year-old (man) from Bloubergstrand was sadly declared deceased."

Police have opened an inquest docket and the body of the man has been taken into the care of the Forensic Pathology Services.

The NSRI, police and emergency services have conveyed their condolences to the family and friends of the deceased man.

Cape Times