Body of missing Muizenberg lifeguard found after three-day search
The body of a lifeguard who disappeared during a rescue in Muizenberg has been found.
Thokozani Mthethwa, 23, who was employed as a seasonal lifeguard by the City of Cape Town, disappeared on Saturday while going to the assistance of a kite surfer off St James beach.
He was being pulled on a sled behind a jet ski piloted by a senior lifeguard when he vanished.
A search involving the National Sea Rescue Institute, police divers and fellow lifeguards continued for three days before Mthethwa's body was found on Tuesday evening.
Cape Town's mayoral committee member for community and health services, Zahid Badroodien, said: “After three continuous days of an extensive search ... the city can confirm that his body was found ... on the shore between Sonwabe and Sunrise Beach.
“Emergency services arrived immediately on the scene and paramedics declared him deceased on site.
“The city expresses its heartfelt condolences to his family and friends, as well as his colleagues during this difficult time.
“This is the first staff member that the recreation and parks department has lost in the line of duty. His life will be honoured among the few exceptional men and women who sacrificed their own lives to save others.
“We are deeply saddened by the outcome of the extensive three-day search undertaken by teams of internal staff and external partners, and would like to extend our gratitude to all parties who came together and spared no resources, tirelessly working together in order to find Thokozani since he went missing.
“As a result of large gatherings being restricted due to Covid-19, details of a memorial service for family and staff are being carefully considered.
“The impact that Thokozani has had on our lives will always be remembered. We pay tribute to him for his bravery and service and hope that as the season progresses, we will be spared any further loss of life.”
There was an outpouring of sympathy on social media on Tuesday. One message said: “RIP hero. Lost your life trying to save others. There is no greater honour.”