The National Sea Rescue Institute confirmed on Monday that the number of people who died, when their vehicle veered off the road and plunged into a river at Kenton-On-Sea, has risen.
NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon said the body of a 10-year-old girl had initially been recovered, but that the bodies of a toddler and an adult female were later found in the wreck, bringing the death toll to three.
“The bodies of the deceased have been taken into the care of the Eastern Cape Department of Health Forensic Pathology Services. Condolences are conveyed to family,” said Lambinon.
The NSRI‘s Port Alfred deputy station commander, Stephen Slade, said in a statement that a crew had been called to assist the police and paramedics at the R72 Kariega Bridge, Kenton-On-Sea, on Sunday around 13:00.
Slade said the vehicle had reportedly veered off the road and into the river, and that paramedics had treated patients on the scene for moderate to serious injuries.
“Police, suspecting that persons from the motor vehicle accident may be trapped in the submerged vehicle in the river or may be missing in the river, requested NSRI assistance.”
A team was dispatched to assist with the search for the missing people.
“A 10-year-old female is confirmed to be deceased and a female toddler, a female teenager, two adult females and an adult male have been transported to hospitals in the area by EMS and Gardmed ambulances.”
Slade said a local spear fisherman, who was in the area at the time, assisted NSRI rescue swimmers in the free dive search efforts.
Police have opened an inquest docket, he said.