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Paddler died ‘due to drowning’

Surfski racer Mark Feather, 43, drowned, according to an autopsy, police said. Captain John Fobian, Eastern Cape disaster management spokesman, said yesterday: “The finding of the autopsy done in Butterworth by a district surgeon is that he died of drowning.”

Feather went missing in the Pete Marlin World Series surfski race early on Saturday morning.

“It is very tragic. Any further discussion is speculative. The sad reality is that a life has been lost. We may never know what exactly happened. We hope that the lasting legacy of this sad loss will be that significantly better safety measures are put in place to avoid, as far as possible, a recurrence of this tragedy,” Warren said.

“Nobody knows at which point he drowned, or where he got into trouble, and what the circumstances were, if he lost a paddle, or why he was unable to use his cellphone after 8.40am, by which time he should have completed the race.”

A memorial service for Feather will be held off Orient Beach at 4.45pm tomorrow and is expected to be attended by scores of paddlers who will lay a wreathe in the water, while watched by friends and family on the shore.

Feather’s partner, Cath, their child Erin, 3, as well as Feather’s brother Greg, Cath’s parents and friends are in East London, and the family had given the service their blessing, said Warren.

The family have been hosted and supported by the local paddling community which has been devastated by the loss. — mikel@dispatch.co.za

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