By Shaanaaz de Jager
THE bodies of all six the missing Nelson Mandela Bay rugby players who were swept out to sea on Sunday March 25 were retrieved and a memorial service for them will be held at the Raymond Mhlaba Sports Centre in Motherwell today (Wednesday) at 5pm.
The tragedy happened after a training session when several members of the Motherwell Rugby Football Club were caught in a strong current off Bluewater Bay beach while swimming.
The body of Masixole Myosana was found that Sunday and the remaing bodies, of Avuyile Tshabalala, Anelisa Mbuzeli, Arthur Peters, Lundi Ramba and Xolisa Nyembezi, were found days later.
Police spokesman Captain Andre Beetge said many volunteers had assisted the Nelson Mandela Bay emergency units, some 50 police officers, Bluewater Bay surf lifesaving club members, the air force and navy in the desperate search for survivors.
He said the police and army had taken turns making a helicopter available while the navy had provided two vessels as well as divers who searched “specific locations” including along the harbour wall.
“The Bluewater Bay Surf lifesaving club also made their premises available as a meeting point,” he said, adding it was difficult to estimate how many volunteers had given of their time. The club will make an emotional return to the field when they play in an Easter tournament in Cape Town on Friday.
This article was adapted from one that first appeared in the print edition of Weekend Post on Saturday March 31, 2012. Additional reporting by The Herald.