The diving community at the Shelly Beach ski-boat base remains in shock in the wake of a diver’s death off Protea Banks while awaiting the autopsy report.
An extensive search operation for a diver who disappeared during a charter scuba dive on Wednesday afternoon ended in remains of the man’s body being recovered.
No further details have come to light and no official comment could be given until the conclusion of the pathology tests.
Unconfirmed reports, though, say that the man’s body had been severely mauled by a shark or sharks, and that the remains were few. There have been suggestions that he might have had a heart attack and drowned, drowned during the diving excursion for a number or reasons, or he could have been attacked by a shark. But this is all speculation, as experienced divers point out, and only a proper autopsy and pathology tests will give and indication of what exactly happened.
An elderly Austrian diver died off Protea Banks on Wednesday afternoon.
The National Sea Rescue Institute in a statement said, “At 13h45, Wednesday, 12th April, NSRI Shelly Beach, NSRI Port Edward and Police Search and Rescue were activated following reports of a scuba diver missing during a scuba dive at the Northern Pinnacle, Protea Banks, South Coast, KwaZulu-Natal.
“According to fellow divers of a group of divers on a charter scuba dive they had been surfacing from a dive when on surfacing the man had disappeared.
“The NSRI Shelly Beach sea rescue craft Caltex Challenger and Spirit of Dawn, the NSRI Port Edward sea rescue craft Wild Coast Sun Rescuer and a Police Search and Rescue boat launched to join a search operation already underway by multiple private boats and by charter boats and on arrival on the scene a coordinated search, assisted also by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre), NSRI Durban and Telkom Maritime Radio Services, continued.
“The SA Police Services, Medevac ambulance services and Hibiscus Fire and Rescue Services also responded to stand-by at the NSRI Shelly Beach sea rescue base.
“A Natal Sharks Board fixed wing aircraft was placed on alert and the NSRI (ASR) Air Sea Rescue and an SA Air Force 15 Squadron Augusta helicopter were activated.
“An extensive drift pattern and sweeping line search operation was conducted utilising the three sea rescue craft, the Police Search and Rescue boat, private boats, private fishing boats, and charter boats and Police divers conducted a scuba dive search.
“During the search the remains of the body of the man, believed to have been bitten by a shark, were located by crew of a private fishing boat and the remains of the body were recovered from the water onto a sea rescue craft and brought to shore.
“The remains of the body of the man, a 68-year-old Austrian (not German as first reported) citizen, have been taken into the care of the Forensic Pathology Services and Police have opened an inquest docket.”