Durban - Rough seas have halted the search efforts for a remaining KwaZulu Natal Sharks Board employee in Richards Bay on Wednesday.
Police search and rescue teams assisted by the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) were searching the waters off Richards Bay for the employee who is presumed drowned after the boat he was in capsized.
The Zululand Observer newspaper stated that search operations have been placed on hold due to rough seas and heavy winds. Rescue teams were waiting for low tide.
Colonel Thembeka Mbele, a KZN police spokesperson, said that just after 7am five employees of the Sharks Board were on a boat out at sea when it capsized.
"Two of the crew were rescued by the National Sea Rescue Institute. Two people aged 43 and 45 had drowned. The bodies were recovered. Rescue teams are searching for one more person," Mbele said.
Hillegard Holtzhausen, National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Richards Bay duty coxswain, said that they received a distress call from the City of uMhlathuzi lifeguards and the KZN Natal Sharks Board informing them that a boat had capsized in the surf at Newark Beach near the Port of Richards Bay with five crew onboard.
The KZN Sharks Board north coast team based in Richards Bay inspects on shark safety gear in Alkantstrand, Zinkwazi, Blythedale, Salt Rock, Willards Beach, Westbrook and Umhlanga Rocks.
Amanda Barratt, an Oceans researcher, expressed her views on her Facebook page. She said this is an incredible tragedy and begs the question - what really is the need for the shark nets in KZN?
"A culling device the operation of which most bathers do not understand. These labourers, who only last week returned to work after industrial action, should be living in an economy where they have the choice around labour practices and what work they should or could be developed and skilled to do. The nets are an environmental hazard and catastrophe, paid for by tax-payers money and now they are responsible for human lives being lost, all because the KZN government has generated a discourse on a fear of sharks," Barratt said.