3 South African Navy crew members die after 7 are swept off submarine deck


Three South African Navy personnel died and a senior officer was in critical condition after seven crew members of a submarine were swept off its deck by big waves as a helicopter attempted a “vertical transfer” of supplies, the country’s Department of Defense said Thursday.

The accident happened Wednesday as an Air Force Lynx helicopter was attempting what’s known as a “vertrep” — or vertical replenishment — of supplies to the SAS Manthatisi submarine on the ocean surface near Kommetjie, off the coast of Cape Town, the department said.

A Type 209 South African submarine, the Manthatisi (foreground), arrives in Simon’s Town, South Africa, April 7, 2006.


The operation was immediately called off and a rescue effort was launched.

All seven submariners were recovered, but three were pronounced dead. A crew member from the helicopter who was dispatched as a “surface swimmer” to assist in the rescue operation was also recovered and is in the hospital alongside the four surviving submariners.

The department identified the three victims as Lieutenant Commander Gillian Elizabeth Hector, Master Warrant Officer William Masela Mathipa and Warrant Officer Class One Mmokwapa Lucas Mojela.

The National Sea Rescue Institute and other emergency services were called in to help with the rescue, the Department of Defense said, adding that there would be an inquiry into the failed operation and the resulting deaths.

The South African National Defense Force, which comprises all of the armed forces, said a female officer with the rank of lieutenant commander was among those who died.

Cape Town and other areas on South Africa’s south coast have been hit by extremely rough seas since last weekend, caused by a phenomenon known as “spring tide.”

South African armed forces analyst Dean Wingrin told the defenceWeb website that the submarine was moving to the Cape Town waterfront for a three-day navy exhibition starting Saturday. The navy has planned the exhibition to mark South Africa’s Heritage Day national holiday on Sunday.

“This is a sad loss for our nation and for our brave armed forces in particular who routinely face danger in order so that all of us can be safe and secure,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement. “We wish the injured personnel a full recovery from the physical and psychological trauma they experienced during this tragedy.We also appreciate the efforts of all role players who, at great risk to themselves, undertook the rescue and recovery operation.”

In a Facebook post, the South African National Defense Force said members of the public were bringing flowers in memory of the victims to the chapel inside the Navy Museum in Simon’s Town.

Tribute to SA Navy members || Chapel inside the Navy Museum in Simon’s Town.

Members of the public are bringing flowers in memory of the deceased submariners.


Posted by SA National Defence Force on Thursday, September 21, 2023

The SAS Manthatisi is one of three German-built Type 209/1400 Heroine-class submarines in the South African navy fleet and had returned to the water earlier this year after undergoing maintenance work.

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

Car slams into Michigan Ave. Neiman Marcus in failed burglary attempt: CPD – NBC Chicago
Workers at shady Brooklyn moving company face trial for defrauding customers out of $3M
How can you save money on your electric bill this winter with energy prices on the rise? – New York Daily News
Boy, 4, killed in Weld County train crash
Spinelli’s Owners Ready to Unveil New Congress Park Market in Denver

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *