The family of a 72-year-old scuba diver who vanished off the Eastern Cape coast have found strength in the knowledge that he may have died while doing what he loved.
David Fraser was on a diving excursion when he disappeared off Noordhoek in Port Elizabeth on August 9.
No trace of the experienced diver has been found‚ despite an extensive search.
In a post declaring that she was feeling heartbroken on Facebook‚ Fraser’s wife Julia said: “For us it is no longer a rescue but … sadly a recovery. We are finding peace and strength in knowing he was doing what he loved.”
A celebration of his life was held on Wednesday.
The family described him as a scuba diver‚ hunter‚ golfer‚ artist‚ swimmer but “firstly a loving husband‚ father and very proud grandfather of five”.
“Dave Fraser aged 72 left us doing what he loved most. He always said age was just a number and he lived his life to the full‚” said the post by his wife.
NSRI Port Elizabeth Station Commander Ian Gray said that adverse weather conditions had prevented an underwater search beyond August 10. Coastal searches had however continued.
“He was last seen on the surface of the water near the dive boat. What happened next‚ nobody is quite sure. There was an extensive search for him. I had nine rescue boats out there‚ seven private boats took part. A South African Air Force helicopter with crew helped‚ members of other emergency services were searching the coastline‚” he told TimesLIVE.
“We had SA police divers with volunteer divers assisting. We searched for the entire afternoon without success.”
Fraser‚ he said‚ was with a group of seven divers from the Wildside Dive Club and had 20 years of diving experience.
“At this stage he is still declared missing in the eyes of the authorities. It may take years before he is declared dead. This is for anyone who goes missing. We know from records‚ survival rates are actually quite limited but‚ in saying that‚ there is always the assumption that the person may have been able to make it ashore. Until there is definite information‚ there is no declaration‚” he added.
Kevin Stead‚ a friend and fellow diver‚ said Fraser had an immense love for scuba diving and would be missed.
“We used to dive together regularly. He was fit for his age. Nobody knows quite how it happened or what happened. He was with a group of people when he just disappeared from the surface.”
Source: TMG Digital.