3 Killed, 1 Officer Fighting for His Life After Being Swept Off South African Navy Ship by Wave

South Africa’s defense ministry said on Thursday that three navy crew members had died and one officer was in critical condition after they and three others were swept off the submarine by high waves.

According to the department, according to the South African government news agency, the accident happened on Wednesday when an Air Force Lynx helicopter was transferring supplies to the SAS Manthatisi submarine near the town of Kommetjie near Cape Town.

All seven crew members were rescued, but three of them were pronounced dead, “with one senior official in critical condition,” the department said, according to the news agency. The other crew members were treated at the hospital.

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“It is with deep sadness that the SANDF announces the tragic loss of three SA Navy submariners off Kommetjie on 20 September aboard the SAS MANTHATISI,” the Ministry of Defense said in a statement posted on Facebook.

The three naval personnel who died in the accident were identified by the department as Commander Gillian Elizabeth Hector, Officer William Masela Mathipu and Officer Mmokwapa Lucas Mojelo.

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An investigation into the accident will be conducted, the South African government news agency reported.

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In a statement, the Ministry of Defense said that Minister of Defense and Military Veterans Thandi Modise, Acting Minister of Defense Thobekile Gamede and other officials “express our deepest condolences to the bereaved families, friends and colleagues of the submariners who tragically lost their lives”.

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In addition, four soldiers were killed and two others were seriously injured on Wednesday in a separate traffic incident near the South African town of Upington. The Ministry of Defense announced in a statement via Facebook that a SAMIL 50 military truck was towing another SAMIL 50 when a tire on the towing truck burst, resulting in both vehicles overturning. The soldiers ejected, and the vehicle landed on top of them.

The ministry added that the families of the deceased have been informed.

Cyril Xaba, chairman of the Defense and Military Veterans Committee, expressed his sadness at the death in a statement posted on the South African Parliament’s website.

“The Portfolio Committee on Defense and Military Veterans commends the joint rescue efforts of the South African Police Services (SAPS), Emergency Medical Services (EMS), National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), SA Navy and Air Force for their joint efforts in the rescue operation,” it is stated in the press release.

“The board extends its sincere condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of the deceased naval officers,” the statement continued. “The board is with them at this very difficult time and wishes the Marines who survived the incident a speedy recovery.”

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