7 dead after 3 crew members of South African Navy were swept off the deck of a submarine.

Three South African navy personnel were killed and a senior officer was in critical condition after the seven crew members of a submarine were swept off its deck by large waves after a helicopter carried the equipment “vertically”, the country’s defense department said on Thursday. “Transfer” attempted.

The accident happened on Wednesday when an Air Force Lynx helicopter was trying to deliver what it called a “vertrep” — or vertical replacement — to the SAS Manthatisi submarine on the surface of the sea near Kommetjie, off the coast of Cape Town. goes

A Type 209 South African submarine, Manthatisi (foreground), arrives at Simonstown, South Africa, 7 April 2006.

Roger Bosch/AFP/Getty

The operation was immediately called off and rescue operations started.

All seven submarines were recovered, but three were pronounced dead. A helicopter crew member who was sent as a “surface swimmer” to assist in the rescue operation also recovered and is in hospital with the four surviving submariners.

The department identified the three victims as Lt. Commander Gillian Elizabeth Hector, Master Warrant Officer William Masila Mathepa and Warrant Officer Class One Mokuwapa Lucas Mojela. Several South African news outlets reported that Hector was the first woman to navigate a military submarine for any African country.

The National Sea Rescue Institute and other emergency services were called in to help with the rescue, the Defense Department said, adding that an inquiry into the botched operation and the resulting deaths would be conducted.

Cape Town and other areas on South Africa’s southern coast have been hit by extremely rough seas since last weekend, due to what is known as a “spring tide”.

South African armed forces analyst Dan Wingren told a defense website that the submarine was heading to the Cape Town waterfront for a three-day naval display starting on Saturday. The navy has planned the display to coincide with South Africa’s national holiday of Heritage Day on Sunday.

“This is a tragic loss to our nation and especially to our brave armed forces who routinely face danger to keep us all safe and secure,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement. “We wish the injured personnel a full recovery from the physical and psychological trauma they suffered during this tragedy. We also appreciate the efforts of all the role players who put themselves at great risk for rescue and rehabilitation. What did you do?”

In a Facebook post, the South African National Defense Force said members of the public were carrying flowers in memory of the victims at the chapel inside the Navy Museum in Simonstown.

SAS Manthatisi is one of three German-built Type 209/1400 Heroine-class submarines in the South African Navy’s fleet and returned to the water earlier this year after undergoing a refit.

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