Master Warrant Officer William Mathipa, Lieutenant Commander Gillian Hector, and Warrant Officer Mmokwapa Mojela were reportedly swept off the SA Navy submarine Sas Manthatisi on Wednesday afternoon and died in the process.
The personnel reportedly lost their lives while doing a vertical transfer in stormy weather. About seven offices were swept away by high waves. While three have been so far confirmed dead, four others were rescued from the submarine.
Since the news of the tragedy broke, social media has been heaving with messages of condolences, as people tried to process the deaths of the personnel in peacetime. Some even wondered whether there were no adequate safety measures at the time the exercise began.
In a post on its official X account, SANDF shared its “sincere condolences” to the family and friends of the bereaved while also naming them and the day of the tragedy. You can check out the post below.
Sincere condolences to the bereaved families, friends & colleagues of the submariners who tragically lost their lives on 20 Sep 23. Lieutenant Commander Gillian Elizabeth Hector, Master Warrant Officer William Masela Mathipa & Warrant Officer Mmokwapa Lucas Mojela, we salute you! pic.twitter.com/BRSf4UHz25
— SA National Defence Force (@SANDF_ZA) September 21, 2023
For most people who join the armed forces, the prayer is to serve meritoriously and retire without dying in active service. But sometimes life has other ideas – as evident in the recent Kommetjie tragedy.