SAPS mourn rescue diver swept away while attending to drowning in flood-hit EC

Eastern Cape Commissioner, Lieutenant General Nomthetheleli Mene expressed shock and devastation at the death of Captain Pierre Marx (53).

Eastern Cape Commissioner, Lieutenant General Nomthetheleli Mene expressed shock and devastation at the death of Captain Pierre Marx (53). Picture: SAPS.

JOHANNESBURG - An SAPS diver who tragically drowned after attending to an incident similar to the one that would subsequently take his life is being mourned and honoured by colleagues and loved ones.

Eastern Cape Commissioner, Lieutenant General Nomthetheleli Mene expressed shock and devastation at the death of Captain Pierre Marx (53).

Preliminary reports suggest that Marx was attending to a drowning incident together with his co-divers from the East London K9 Search and Rescue.

The Eastern Cape has been hit by deadly floods this week.

The incident involved four people who were allegedly swept off Horse Shoe Valley causeway. As authorities arrived at the scene to assess the situation, they established that the missing fourth person was on the island in the mainstream of the Nahoon River together with three others deceased, whose bodies had already been found.

According to the report, the officers managed to take the three bodies across the stream. After a successful rescue of the fourth person, who is believed to be a local farmer, Marx struggled with a strong current sweeping him, despite attempts by his colleagues to rescue him.

He disappeared in the heavy stream, only to be recovered in the early morning of Sunday.

"The untimely passing of Captain Marx has sent shockwaves within the SAPS family and the community at large who have voiced out their distress at the devastating news of his drowning. Captain Pierre Marx was a well-known member of the SAPS who made himself a name within and outside the SAPS for his outstanding heroic rescue activities within the Province. He was very popular among various communities who witnessed his sense of commitment and empathetic disposition towards the plight of the people. He won a couple of Bravery Awards, one of which was when he saved a young boy from drowning in a stormwater drain in East London," police said.

Mene visited the scene of the drowning in the early morning of Sunday morning and later proceeded to the mortuary where his body is, while arrangements for his funeral are still under way.

“This is a sad day not only for the SAPS family but for the entire community. Captain Pierre Marx was an asset and hope for all of us. We have lost a dedicated and dependable hero, a passionate and loyal member of the South African Police Service who kept the SAPS Flag flying high on various occasions. He promoted the image of the organisation in a manner that made all of us proud to be associated with the SAPS. On behalf of the management in the province, I wish to send my deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues. May his soul rest in Peace," she said.