Identities of officers who died in submarine disaster have been released

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has identified the SA Navy marines who lost their lives while doing a vertical transfer in stormy conditions off the coast of Kommetjie.

Lieutenant commander Gillian Hector, master warrant officer William Mathipa, and warrant officer Mmokwapa Mojela died after being swept off the SA Navy submarine Sas Manthatisi on Wednesday afternoon ,four other officers were rescued from the submarine

The tragic incident happened when the marines were doing the operation while en route to Cape Town.

According to African Defence Review director Darren Oliver

The waters around the Cape over the last few days and weeks have been very unusual, so it’s quite possible that conditions were okay at the time this exercise began and then rapidly got worse. I do believe at some point the exercise was called off, but it was too late.

The death of the marines comes ahead of this year’s Mini Navy Festival, scheduled to be held this weekend.

Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis also sent condolences to the bereaved families “I’m saddened to hear of the loss of three South African Navy sailors in an accident at sea near Kommetjie yesterday [Wednesday]. On behalf of the City of Cape Town, I extend my condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of the SA Navy mariners who passed away. We mourn their loss and pray that they will know our gratitude for their service to our country.”

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