File photo: NSRI
Cape Town – Police have opened an inquest docket into the death of a father, whose body was found after the boat he and his three children were sailing in capsized in a lake in George on Friday.

This is according to National Sea Rescue Institute of South Africa (NSRI) spokesperson Craig Lambinon, who said the body was found early on Saturday morning.

The body was found during an extensive search by two NSRI rescue craft, a police dive unit with a police boat, WC Government Health EMS and the EMS rescue squad, Knysna/Sedgefield Fire and Rescue Services and Sedgefield Community Oriented Police, Pine Lake Marina Management and staff and Pine Lake Marina security staff, he added.

“The police have opened an inquest docket,” said Lambinon, adding that NSRI Wilderness had been alerted at 9.45pm on Friday to reports of a 45-year-old Cape Town man having gone missing in the Swartvlei, the lake at Pine Lake Marina, between Sedgefield and Knysna.

Lambinon said the father and his three children, aged 16, 7 and 5, reportedly launched a small, hired boat on to Swartvlei to fish at 4pm when visiting friends at Pine Lake Marina.

“When they hadn’t returned by nightfall the man’s wife and friends raised the alarm, and it appears civilians launched a search using Jet Skis.

“During their search, reportedly at approximately 8.30pm they found the three children swimming to shore, and only the male child was wearing a life jacket, although it has been reported that they had all been issued life jackets, and all three were brought to shore.

“Nurses, reportedly on vacation at the resort, treated the children for hypothermia and shock.

“The children reported that earlier the boat that they were on had capsized. They had lost sight of their dad and started to swim to shore,” said Lambinon.

He added that after the man’s body had been recovered and taken into the care of Forensic Pathology Services, his wife and children, who were suffering from shock, were transported to hospital in an ambulance.

The small boat and remaining life jackets have not been located, according to Lambinon, who conveyed the NSRI and emergency services’ condolences to the man’s family and friends.

Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith has in the meantime thanked enforcement and rescue services staff who worked throughout the festive season.

On the beaches and other public spaces, law enforcement staff confiscated 9 968 bottles of alcohol, equating to nearly 6 400 litres.

“Having acknowledged that we can perhaps also pause to thank the public, local and visitors alike, who worked with our emergency and policing staff to improve the safety of the festive season for all.

“The statistics show that we have seen reduced deaths on roads over this period, reduced drownings, more children registered at the Identikidz stalls at the beach and reduced fires and fire-related deaths,” Smith said.