Cape Town – The inquiry into the Kommetjie submarine incident comes to an end next week and the families will find out what happened that day.
Days after the September tragedy the SA Navy announced that a board of inquiry into the incident would begin on October 11.
Acting senior staff naval public relations officer, Commander Tehio Mabina, said the board was made up of four members.
“The board is expected to conclude its work and report the findings to the chief of the SA Navy by November 10.
“On its completion the findings, the outcomes and recommendations will be made public in accordance with the laws of the Republic of South Africa.”
The family of Lieutenant Commander Gillian Hector said they were focusing on coming to terms with her death.
Her aunt, Carol de Monk, said the family was broken by the loss of Hector.
“The family is having to deal with the grief and loss and there are days they do not want to speak.
“As for the inquiry, the family is not focused on that now.”
Hector’s body was found inside the submarine after the incident.
It is understood she was injured while conducting the exercise outside the vessel and was taken inside in an attempt to resuscitate her.
Hector’s husband Romero was approached for comment about the inquiry but he did not respond.
Soon after the incident, SA Navy chief Vice-Admiral Monde Lobese said the SAS Manthatisi tragedy was caused by a freak wave.
Days before the incident, the South African Weather Service indicated that spring tide had been experienced in Cape Town, with high swells damaging cars, homes, infrastructure and businesses.
After the incident, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell issued a weather warning and said that recreational sea activities were not recommended.
Hector, who was South Africa's first female submarine commander; the coxswain, Master Warrant Officer William Masela Mathipa; and the coxswain under training, Warrant Officer Mmokwapa Lucas Mojela, lost their lives when a freak wave swept over the vessel on September 20.
The SAS Manthatisi, which was on its way to Cape Town, was conducting a transfer using an SA Air Force Maritime Lynx helicopter when high waves swept seven crew members out to sea.
In an earlier account, the navy said Warrant Officer Brendan Daly, who was the safety swimmer on the helicopter, jumped into the water to assist Warrant Officer Ayanda Mahlobo and Warrant Officer Charles Kriel.
Commander Charles Nkolo Phokane and Lieutenant Melinyani Gobinca were injured.