On Wednesday, September 20, the crew on board the SAS Mathatisi was en route to Cape Town and was conducting a vertical transfer using the SA Air Force Maritime Lynx helicopter.
However, the training exercise went wrong due to adverse weather conditions.
The exercise went wrong and Lieutenant Commander Gillian Elizabeth Hector (Executive Officer), 32, Master Warrant Officer William Masela Mathipa (Coxswain), 48, and Warrant Officer Class One Mmokwapa Lucas Mojela (Coxswain under training), 42, died.
The injured members were the Officer Commanding, Commander Charles Nkolo Phokane, the Weapons Officer, Lieutenant Melinyani Gobinca, the Warrant Officer in Charge of Submarine Escape Training Simulator, Warrant Officer Class 1 Brendan Daly who was also the safety swimmer from the helicopter, the Head of Section Electrical Department, Warrant Officer Class 2 Ayanda Mahlobo, and the Head of Department Detection, Warrant Officer Class 2 Charles Kriel.
Earlier this week, a joint memorial service was held at the Wynberg Military Indoor Sports Centre in Cape Town for the submariners.
The venue was at capacity.
Hector will be laid to rest on Saturday, September 30 at the St John Evangelist Church in Fish Hoek.
Mojela will be laid to rest on October 7 in Ga-Matlala in Limpopo, and Mathipa will be laid to rest the following day on October 8 in Ga-Dikhale in Limpopo.
Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Thandi Modise, Chief of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), General Rudzani Maphwanya and the Chief of the SA Navy, Vice Admiral Monde Lobese conveyed their gratitude for the heartfelt condolences which continue to pour in for the families of the fallen heroes, loved ones and the organisation.
An internal investigation is expected to take place to determine what led to the deaths.