Three personnel belonging to the South African Navy lost their lives. A senior officer was in a severely critical state after seven members of the crew and a submarine were reportedly swept off the vessel’s deck by huge sea waves as a helicopter tried a “vertical transfer” of supplies, per reports from the Department of Defence on Thursday.
The accident happened as an Air Force Lynx helicopter was trying what’s called a “vertrep” – vertical replenishment – of certain supplies to the SAS Manthatisi sub on the ocean surface off the Cape Town coast, the department reported.
The operation was called off immediately, and a rescue mission was enabled.
The seven submariners could be recovered, but three of them were declared to be dead. A crew member who had been dispatched from the helicopter as a “surface swimmer” to aid in the rescue mission was recovered and is currently in the hospital with the four other submariners.
South Africa’s National Defense Force, comprising armed forces, reported that a female officer who was a lieutenant commander was one of the three who lost their lives.
Cape Town and other areas on the south coast of South Africa have been hit by rough seas since last weekend caused by spring tide.
References: The Week, New Delhi Times, CBS News
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