From the news desk

Brother-in-law recalls missing diver’s final moments

As rescue efforts continue in the search for diver Muhammad Nur Mitchell, the 32-year-old’s family says they now seek closure. Lining the coast of Saunders Rocks, the location of Mitchell’s disappearance, family members on Tuesday kept watch for any sight of the missing diver. They watched in earnest as the tide rose over the seaweed infused popular diving location.

Family members line Saunders Rocks in search of Mitchell.

Joining in the search, Mitchell’s  brother-in-law and fellow diver, Hishaam Davids, recalled the events that led up to the moment he was engulfed by heavy swells at Saunders Rocks on Sunday.

Speaking to VOC News, Davids explains that the pair have been diving for the past year at Saunders Rocks, always inspecting if the waters are safe for diving prior to entry. But, after contemplating whether they should enter the water, the pair opted to continue with their plans to dive.

“For the past few weeks, the water has been a bit choppy. Whenever we see that it is choppy, we don’t go in, and we drive off. I told him maybe we must not go in. But, then he told me we should, because we were very keen and excited to hit the water,” Davids explains.

Entering the water from a large boulder at the popular diving corner, Davids says he and Mitchell made their way into the area of the shoreline that is concentrated with seaweed, a route they often used.

The pair, who always dives while in close proximity, was quickly separated with Mitchell taking the lead.

“We always tell each other ‘I am going to go this way and you come with me this way’, but when he went ahead of me, he just smiled at me and I feel like that was his way of saying goodbye to me,” Davids said overcome with emotion.

After losing sight of Mitchell, Davids says that he dived down in an attempted to locate his brother-in-law and after a 30-second wait began his search for Mitchell on the surface of the water.

“I waited for about 30-seconds, because that’s about the time we take because we use snorkels. We don’t use scuba-diving [equipment] and I looked on the surface of the water and I couldn’t see my brother anymore.”

After failed attempts to locate Mitchell, rising swells slammed Davids against nearby rocks.

“In that time when I was looking for him, I knew he was down already and then I was panicking and eventually another wave came. I held onto the rock and that’s when bystanders saw me struggling and they called law enforcement. I came up and was running around and I still couldn’t see my brother-in- law,” he continued.

Conditions on Tuesday proved too dangerous for police-divers to conduct a physical dive-suit search.

Mitchell’s brother, Sabri, says that despite continued heavy swells, as water levels subside, the family hopes that Mitchell will be located in the coming days.

Meanwhile, National Sea and Rescue Institute spokesperson Craig Lambinon explains that police dive units are continuing with search operations and are periodically doing shoreline patrols.

“The conditions are still too rough to do a physical dive-suit search.”

Despite sea swells, Lambinon says he is unable to verify if the current may have swept Mitchell out to sea or further along the coast.

VOC 91.3fm

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