Search continues for missing E Cape body boarder
DURBAN - THE family of missing East London body boarder Robert Frauenstein, 38, believe he might have bitten by a great white shark.
Frauenstein was due to get married next month.
National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) spokesperson Craig Lambinon said Frauenstein was body-boarding in the surf line at Cintsa on the Wild Coast last Tuesday but later in the day his body board was found washed up on the beach and he was nowhere to be found.
His board appeared to have bite marks on it. A search was launched, including by the NSRI and the police.
Kelly Hiles, a family representative, thanked the larger community for offering support emotionally and physically during the search.
“The teeth marks on his body board are confirmed as that of a very large great white shark, possibly the same shark spotted from the air earlier in the week.
“We take comfort in the fact that Robert was doing what he loved and that his untimely demise would have been as swift, painless and without struggle as anyone could hope for. We acknowledge that the rescue mission has now become a recovery exercise,” she said.
Hiles appealed to the public to keep Robert’s mother, Stephanie, brother Ed, and especially her sister Jana Karma Hiles, who would have married Robert next month, in their thoughts.
Lambinon said, as a precaution, the NSRI and the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality were appealing to bathers, paddlers and surfers to be cautious along that stretch of coastline between East London and north of Cintsa.
“Although at this early stage a shark incident cannot be confirmed, this public warning is carried on the assumption that this incident may be shark-related and caution is advised,” Lambinon added.
Eastern Cape police spokesperson Captain Khaya Tonjeni said, while the four-day search had not yielded results, police would resume the search this morning and would continue investigations.
Last week the search operation included the NSRI, SAPS, police K-9 Search and Rescue and the SAPS Dive Unit as well as a private businessman’s helicopter, the Eastern Cape EMS rescue helicopter and friends of the missing man, who had launched boats to assist in the police search.