Cape Town – The body of South African veteran paddler and Berg River Canoe Marathon icon Giel van Deventer, who was reported missing and presumed to have drowned, has been found.
The 72-year-old went missing on Saturday after he disappeared underwater while taking part in the race on the Breede River.
Van Deventer was paddling in a K2 with Lodewyk Rabie when they reportedly ran into trouble in a tree-block close to the race finish outside Swellendam and he disappeared underwater, the Berg River group said in a statement.
Race officials and police divers began their search on Saturday and Sunday without locating the veteran paddler.
#sapsWC Western Cape #SearchAndRescue, Overberg Metro Search and Rescue and Swellendam Fire Brigade conducted a combined search operation and recovered the body of a canoer in the Breederiver on 22/08. An inquest case was opened for investigation by Swellendam #SAPS. NP pic.twitter.com/nGjPpvSGj4
— SA Police Service ?? (@SAPoliceService) August 23, 2022
However, on Monday Canoeing South Africa confirmed in a Facebook statement that the body of Van Deventer was found on Monday afternoon.
“For the many paddlers and friends seeking closure to this weekend’s tragedy on the Breede, we can confirm that the police divers and rescue crews have managed to recover Giel van Deventer’s body this afternoon.
“They worked tireless in very difficult circumstances, and we are very grateful for their efforts. All our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time,” the statement said.
The search was conducted by the Overberg Metro Search and Rescue and Swellendam Fire Brigade.
Police said an inquest case was opened for investigation by Swellendam police.
Picture: Facebook\ Canoeing South Africa
Compiled by Olwethu Mpeshe