An 18-year-old man drowned at the Strand while Cape Town law enforcement officials could not find the key to their rubber duck and then left their two-way radio on the beach, Beeld reported on Wednesday.
Vernon Naude, 18, drowned in rough seas on Friday while a helicopter and National Sea Rescue Institute volunteers searched for him in vain.
The rubber duck was launched only 40 minutes later as the keys were at an official’s home, an off-duty policewoman at the scene told Beeld. She asked to remain anonymous.
When the boat eventually put to sea, officials realised they had left their two-way radio on the beach. The boat repeatedly passed by Naude, who onlookers and rescuers could see from the beach.
Two surfers found his body in the water the next morning.
According to the policewoman a boy initially called a lifeguard to report someone in trouble in the water. The lifeguard apparently walked nonchalantly to the sea and later came back.
Cape Town’s safety and security executive director Richard Bosman told Beeld the boat operator blamed “technical problems” with the engine. The matter would be investigated, he said. SAPA