The chief of the SA Navy has given the green light for the extension of the investigation into the SAS Manthatisi tragedy which claimed the lives of three navy submarine officers.
On September 20, the three officers were washed overboard while carrying out a Vertrep exercise on its way to the V&A Waterfront where the SAS Manthatisi was to be a part of the mini Navy Festival.
SA Navy spokesperson Nombuso Mhlongo said: “Following a fatal incident out at sea off Kommetjie near Cape Town on Wednesday, 20 September 2023 that claimed the lives of three SA Navy sailors, a board of inquiry (BoI) was instituted to investigate all events that led to the tragic incident. The BoI has requested an extension of the time allocated in order to successfully complete its work. The Chief of the SA Navy, Vice-Admiral Monde Lobese, acceded to this request and has granted the requested extension.”
At the time of the incident, Flag Officer Fleet of the South African Navy, Musawenkosi Nkomonde, said all safety precautions were adhered to on board the submarine that the SA Navy members were washed overboard on.
Submariners Lieutenant-Commander Gillian Elizabeth Hector (executive officer), Master Warrant Officer William Masela Mathipa (coxswain) and Warrant Officer Class One Mmokwapa Lucas Mojela (coxswain under training) tragically lost their lives in the incident.
Previously, defence expert Dean Wingrin said that the exercise was called off due to bad weather.
Wingrin had explained that there was a large swell running, more than 3m at the time of the training exercise.