Body of possible SANDF soldier found in Namibia


The Department of Defence has announced that a dead body has been found on the Namibian coast, and that South African and Namibian authorities are trying to determine if it is one of the two South African National Defence Force (SANDF) personnel who drowned during an exercise in Namibia last month.

The Department of Defence said body was discovered on Sunday during the search for the two SANDF members who went missing during the SADC Special Forces multinational force preparation exercise Welwitschia.

Around 32 special forces personnel in four boats were taking part in an exercise off the coast of Sandwich Harbour near Walvis Bay on October 6 when two of them capsized in rough seas. Apart from a Malawian and two South African casualties, the rest of the 16 men who were affected managed to swim safely ashore or were rescued by the other boats.

In a statement, the SANDF said the boats were headed for a beach landing exercise when one Barracuda boat executed a power turn and was flooded by a large wave and capsized. Another Barracuda boat went to the rescue and members on the distressed boat scrambled to the one side of the rescuing boat causing it to tilt and capsize as well.

The body of the Malawian Defence Force soldier washed ashore. Two soldiers were taken to hospital after the incident. The two boats were washed out 10 miles away and were recovered.

Exercise Welwitschia was a multinational exercise involving more than 700 personnel from several Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, including South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and host Namibia.

The exercise involved practicing the tactics, techniques and procedures of desert warfare and improving the readiness and interoperability of SADC special forces, the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) said. It also gave special forces the chance to coordinate anti-piracy operations.