‘We wanted to help’

Raymind Samuels went missing around Duiker Island on Sunday last week after going diving with friends.

When Raymind Samuels went missing at sea last week, Kyle and Scott Adams from Hangberg never gave up the search for their friend.

The brothers have been hailed as heroes for locating the body of Raymind, when they decided to refill their tanks and head out on a boat to search Duiker Island on Thursday August 6.

Around noon, the brothers spotted something floating in between some sea weed and sadly, they had located Raymind, for whom they had been searching for nearly four days.

Speaking to Hout Bay Media, the brothers were happy to give the family closure, but felt a bit hard done by authorities in the water who asked them to leave the waters and end their search.

“All we wanted is to give the family some closure. We did not do this to become famous and we only wanted to help. They (police) asked us to leave the waters and let them do their job, but they gave up the search and we continued,” one of the brothers said during the interview.

Sentinel News had tried on numerous occasions via different cellphone numbers to get hold of either Scott or Kyle, but were unsuccessful.

Raymind Samuels from Hangberg was reported missing last week when it is believed he left his home to go diving at Duiker Island on Sunday August 2, but never returned. After being reported missing, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) deployed a search team to look for the missing diver.

The NSRI confirmed that Raymind’s body was indeed discovered by family members, but they were unable to further elaborate, fearing they would set a precedent for future searches.

“It is normal when tragically persons go missing at sea it does occur that a body is located outside of the formal ongoing police search times (and found sometimes by members of the public). This is a normal trend because an ongoing search and recovery operation needs to take into account that rescue services are not on the scene constantly and a search area gradually increases in size as the days progress,” said Craig Lambinon, NSRI spokesperson.

He said a formal procedure when locating a body is to call police to formally do the recovery themselves, but this does have complications in a sea operation where recovering the located body becomes the priority over and above formalities to prevent a body from going missing again.

The NSRI were activated at 1.23pm on the Sunday and searched until approximately 4.30pm and the scene was then formally handed over to police in accordance with standard procedures.

“The police dive unit conducted searches in accordance with their protocols every day thereafter and NSRI Hout Bay were gearing to assist police again on the Saturday and the Sunday but fortunately, the body was located and recovered by the two local divers prior to this being necessary,” Mr Lambinon said.

Community Liaison for Guerrini Marine Construction (GMC) and former diver, Angelo Joseph, said many of the divers out in Hangberg are left with very little choice but to enter the sea to make a living.

“These guys are not going out there for fun, they have families to support and they will go to every length to make sure they put a piece of bread on their tables,” he said.

Mr Joseph called on government to lift regulations around fishing and said it would be a “game-changer”. “The ocean belongs to us and I am not sure why it was privatised in such a way. If there were no regulations around the sea, our people would not have to go and dive late at night or at ridiculous hours risking their lives the way they do,” said Mr Joseph.

“There is still too much corruption going on and poaching is bringing in too much money. The ocean is not a place to mess around in and a lot of our youngsters are chasing that paper to support their families.”

Geoff Stevens, NSRI Hout Bay station commander, urged the public to alert a formal rescue operation immediately when someone is missing or overdue from returning from the sea.

“It is always an extremely sad situation to be faced with. The NSRI remains in contact with the family and we have expressed, on behalf of all emergency services, condolences to the family and friends. We are all deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Raymind,” Mr Stevens said.

He said during this tragic incident immediately following the first call to NSRI Hout Bay, both NSRI Hout Bay and NSRI Kommetjie were activated, and an extensive search and rescue operation was mobilised with four sea rescue crafts on the scene to search.

“After no sign of the missing man was found, it became a body search and recovery operation. Police took over from the NSRI in investigations and in an ongoing police search and recovery operation that was conducted each day,” he confirmed.

NSRI Hout Bay said they remained committed to working closely with the local community to provide “tried and trusted methods” that may assist in preventing accidents at sea.

“We commend our local Hout Bay community for their contribution and co-operation to this process, in particular the local fishing community, who share common ground with the NSRI in our ongoing quest to prevent accidents at sea,” Mr Stevens said.

At the time of going to print, Raymind Samuels’ family said they were not ready to speak to the Sentinel News.