Picture: for illustration purposes

South African Navy Honours Fallen Crew with Joint Memorial Service in Kommetjie

Published September 25, 2023
9 months ago

Tragic events unfolded last week as three members of the South African Navy tragically lost their lives during an exercise near Kommetjie. Lt Commander Gillian Elizabeth Hector, Master Warrant Officer William Masela Mathipa, and Warrant Officer Class One Mmokwapa Lucas Mojela fell overboard the SA Navy submarine, SAS Manthatisi, and were tragically claimed by the sea.

Their tragic demise occurred while the crew carried out a vertical transfer using the SA Air Force Maritime Lynx helicopter en route to Cape Town. Following the tragedy, the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) immediately suspended the VERTREP evolution and scrambled recovery efforts.

The SANDF issued a public appeal on Sunday urging the Simons Town community, along with the general public at large, to attend a joint memorial service at the Wynberg Military Indoor Sport Centre, Area Health Military Unit (2 Military Hospital) to show solidarity with the SA Navy and pay their respects to those who had been tragically lost. The service will take place on Wednesday, September 27 at 10am, with the access gate open through Alphen Hill and Buren Roads.

Families of the fallen sailors have requested their privacy during this trying time. The SANDF, on behalf of these bereaved families, implored the media to respect their wishes, asking for time, and space to mourn their tragic loss and honour the memory of their beloved family members.

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