“He’s here now, pull him up before he goes!” – these were the pleading words of loved ones when a body, believed to be that of the last remaining teenager who went missing at a Cape Town beach over the weekend, was seen on the rocks near Rocklands Beach in Sea Point on Tuesday.
Felicien Nzisabira, who had been at the beach since 07:00 for information about his son Uwamungu, looked over the balustrade helplessly as a teen’s body could be seen on the rocks on Tuesday morning.
Friends who had been waiting with him pleaded with the police to get divers into the water before it was too late.
Police officials asked them to wait behind the tape and pushed back curious people who had, minutes earlier, been strolling and exercising on the promenade.
Two fire trucks arrived on the scene, and a ladder, weight bags and ropes were carried to the balustrade.
One woman shouted to officials that the body had moved, and a team of officials quickly adjusted the tape cordoning off the scene and started efforts to retrieve the body.
Earlier, a grieving Felicien said: “All I want is for them to find my child’s body.”
He said he had been at a church service on Sunday when his son and three other teens found themselves in difficulty at the beach.
The Burundian family, which have been in the country since 2006, is part of refugees who are currently staying at the Central Methodist Church in Green Market Square.
Patrick Ifadi Fabien, a friend who was on the scene for support, said the teens had not told any adults they were going to the beach.
He said Uwamungu and his friends had been playing on the beach at the time.
He described them as good children and said Uwamungu enjoyed singing in the choir.
The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said on Sunday they had received reports of four people in difficulty in the surf at Rocklands Beach.
According to NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon, they were “friends who were caught in rip currents after entering the water to swim when a wave washed over them”.
“The four casualties who were originally in difficulty were an 18-year-old male from Burundi, a 16-year-old male from the Congo, a 15-year-old male from Burundi and a 15-year-old female from Congo,” Lambinon said in a statement late on Sunday evening.
The first body was recovered on Sunday. A second and third body had been recovered late on Monday, Lambinon said in a subsequent statement.