Rugby practice ends in tragedy

2012-03-25 22:27

Port Elizabeth - It has emerged that the rugby players who died after being swept out to sea by rip-currents at Port Elizabeth’s Blue Water Bay, had gone for a swim to cool off after a training session.

One player’s body has been found and five of his Motherwell club team-mates are missing, presumed drowned.

The team had been preparing for a SARU tournament to be played in Cape Town over Easter.

Cheeky Watson, president of the Eastern Province Rugby Union, was at the beach on Sunday where the search for the missing players continued.

"We're very sad. This is a team that came to practice and then went to cool down.

“It's really a tragedy and it touches communities as well as the whole rugby family.

“We stand by everyone who lost someone today (Sunday). I really hope the club won't disintegrate, but rather show their character by standing up."

The South African Rugby Union (SARU) also sent its condolences to the club.

"I have spoken to the president of Eastern Province Kings rugby union and members of the community today (Sunday) and this is a devastating tragedy," SARU president Oregan Hoskins said.

"These young men were preparing to compete in a SARU Easter tournament in Cape Town in a fortnight and were enjoying a carefree day on the beach with their team-mates," said Hoskins.

"To have their afternoon turned into a day of tragedy is shocking for the whole rugby community and our thoughts and prayers go out to their families." 

Earlier on Sunday the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said it had rescued 15 of 21 people who had been swept out by rip-currents earlier in the day.

"Not all of them were rugby players," said spokesperson Craig Lambinon.

Some of the 21 were members of the public.

The rescue team was alerted of the incident at around midday.

An extensive search had been launched to find the missing men.

Lambinon said three sea rescue craft, rescue rubber-ducks, a jet-ski, and a helicopter were used in the search.

Lifeguards were also swimming to check for them.

By Sunday afternoon, Lambinon said there was no sign of the five.

Lifeguards from the beach's life saving club had swum out to help when the incident took place.

"Some of the lifeguards had rescued up to three people at a time," said Lambinon.

"Of the 15 people rescued alive none were required to go to hospital although some were treated for shock and near-drowning symptoms on the beach by paramedics."


  • steve.haag1 - 2012-03-25 22:37

    So sad - 2012-03-26 05:29


      HandyAndy - 2012-03-26 05:59

      Who is/are the insentitive who "thumbs down" the messages of condolence. What sort of people do we have in this country. It is a disgrace.

  • Craig - 2012-03-25 22:49

    This is terrible.

  • Peter - 2012-03-25 23:13

    On behalf of Langa Rugby Club our deepest sympathy and condolences. Tragedy for our tournament over Easter.

  • Ken - 2012-03-25 23:28

    Prayers and thoughts are with you!....So Sad

  • susan.bezuidenhout - 2012-03-25 23:31

    Very sad. Condolences to their families and friends.

  • Deano Dingo Du Plessis - 2012-03-26 00:17

    Real tragedy 4 S. A rugby..

  • springbokke - 2012-03-26 03:13

    A real tragedy, I am so very, very sorry for all family and loved ones ....God bless you guys.

  • Dave - 2012-03-26 03:34

    Very sad day for everyone. I wonder what kind of fool would put a thumbs down here????

      richard.hipkin - 2012-03-26 09:24

      You actually give a sh$t about thumbs up or down?

  • brionyl.french - 2012-03-26 05:09

    This is terrible, but surely the Lifegaurd board warned everyone on the beach of the type of water, temp, and what not.

      Squeegee - 2012-03-26 05:41

      So you have to blame someone, eh? What part of 'rip-current' did you not understand?

      Bluey - 2012-03-26 06:00

      @Squeegee What part of Brionyls comment didn't you understand regarding Life-guards warnings or lack of, surely that's a valid question or should it just be swept under the carpet. A couple of years ago the NZ Warriors (NZ league team) young promising up and coming star player died in similar circumstances from a rip in West Auckland.

      Bluey - 2012-03-26 07:01

      Bluey - 2012-03-26 07:03

      Gungets - 2012-03-26 08:12

      Bluey - sorry, just read your link now. I thought you were talking about a young lifeguard that died during their national champs last year, or the year before. He was racing in the suftski competition and got hit by a huge wave and drowned.

      Bluey - 2012-03-26 08:15

      @Gungets. Look at my links The NZ Warriors were training at Bethels beach ( West Aucks) Training......, rugby league boys, massive search, what the hell are you on about regarding ski races?

      Gungets - 2012-03-26 08:20

      Hellova sad. The Lifesaving club lifeguards (volunteers) would have been in Amanzimtoti for the SA National Lifesaving Champs which finished late on Saturday. Questions about the skills, attitude and aptitude of the Pro lifeguards are completely valid.

  • Bulldozer - 2012-03-26 06:11

    Who in the world is the sad excuse of a human being who gives 'thumbs down' to everybody voicing their condolences?

      lourens.jordaan - 2012-03-26 08:28

      Die eerste keer in my lewe moet ek saam met jou stem bulldozer wie in sy regte verstand gee afduime.Wat n klomp idiote.

      Derrick - 2012-03-26 08:33

      Makes one lose faith in humanity when under such tragic circumstances there are people totally lacking in respect

      patrickjasoncawood - 2012-03-26 11:35

      Bulldozer, there are some wierd and wonderful people who comment on here....

      Gungets - 2012-03-26 13:37

      @Bull - you will recognise them in real life. They are the ones that slope around looking completely insignificant. Generally the first thought that comes to mind about those lind of people is "shame". Giving a thumbs down to condolence messages is as powerful as they will ever be in life. Sad really, all I can say is "shame".

  • bluzulu - 2012-03-26 07:00

    This was an unecessary incident,

      Bluey - 2012-03-26 07:04

      100% agreed

  • Lionel - 2012-03-26 07:03

    Condolences to all!!!!!!!

  • Zion - 2012-03-26 07:19

    My most sincere condolences to the families who lost loved ones. We all share your pain in this time of tragedy.

  • clivegoss - 2012-03-26 07:35

    Baie tragies. Medelye vir al die spanmaats. Sterkte vorentoe

  • Chris - 2012-03-26 07:59

    Very sad and sincere condolences to their love good "throwing stones" now...that will not bring them back...we must only learn from our mistakes and try and prevent a reoccurence.

  • Matt - 2012-03-26 08:09

    Sterkte vir almal by die Motherwell rugby klub asook al die ander mense wat geraak is in hierdie tragedie.

      Ed - 2012-03-26 11:43

      nice one Matt...they are also one of the oldest registered rugby sides in the country and have had numerous nig names coming through them:) good guys, all of em.

      Matt - 2012-03-26 15:36

      Thanks Ed. This is a shock not only to rugby supporters, but to all of PE. Many years back I played against James Jalobe High School in Motherwell. We beat them quite easily, but the passion they showed is one of my fondest rugby memories.

  • Sechaba - 2012-03-26 12:21

    Where are these people from? Township or Surbubs? We need government to build proper swimming pools so that people can learn how to swim. Condolences to the family of the diceased.

      jade.neil - 2012-03-26 15:08

      Sechaba, you idiotic bafoon (unfortunately it is the only polite word to use for you in this case sadly). It does not matter whether you are the world's greatest swimmer, or the world's absolute worst. Unfortunately when the tide is too strong for you to handle you will most probably loose the battle with the ocean. The ocean is a mighty thing on earth, and it is not to be played around with. I have heard of surfers PROFFESSIONALS I have you know that have died or almost died because of the strong currents of the ocean. If you took time and care, in reading the full article, you would have seen that the players were caught in the rip currents and sadly one player got pulled out at sea and away from the shore. please think a little bit more intelligently before you go around passing such statements.

      jbrandct - 2012-03-27 11:29

      I am a surfer and I can assure you no professional surfers have died in currents, death usually occur because of collisions, hold-down or other freakish accidents. Experienced surfers know the ocean well and use rip currents to our advantage to get out easier into the lineup, and we also know how to escape one, and most experienced surfers can paddle against fairly strong rip currents. In fact, I have pulled a few people out of currents in my 15 odd years of surfing. Not trying to blow my own trumpet here, just want to let you know your facts are a bit wrong. Rip currents aren't really that dangerous, the thing is to remain calm, and eventually you will be rescued or reach the end of the current, and then you can swim around it towards the beach. It is when your start panicking and try to swim against it when you get tired, and drown.

  • Richard - 2012-03-26 13:34

    Maybe they couldn't swim?

  • Jaime - 2012-03-26 15:52

    playing rugby committing every fiber of your being to a desperate, unequal and profoundly disgusting and sick society, pass the ball like you pass responsibility and then pass yourself a dop.

      Squeegee - 2012-03-26 17:57

      They let you out too soon...

  • Vic - 2012-03-27 10:22

    Of course this is indeed a tragedy & very sad for the families of the deceased & also all their Club Members. But......DON'T start blaming the Lifeguards on duty, or anyone else.!!! . Do you really think people necessarily listen & take heed of what they're told & the Lifeguards can't stop them going into the water.!!! These guys went for a swim & one must assume they were actually able to swim, otherwise one should NOT venture into the sea.!?!! But, of course, "when it's your time, it's your time".!! Condolences & warm wishes to all those connected with the deceased.!!

  • pages:
  • 1