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Search for S.African rugby players presumed drowned

Published on 27/03/2012

South African police and rescue teams searched Tuesday for the bodies of five members of an amateur rugby team who were swept out to sea at the weekend while cooling off after practice.

“We are still continuing the search and we have enlisted the services of two border patrol vessels to help with the search,” at Port Elizabeth on the south coast, said police spokesman Andre Beetge.

“The five rugby players are now presumed dead,” he said.

The body of one player from the Motherwell Rugby Football Club in Port Elizabeth has already been recovered.

The players were among 21 people swept out to sea by a rip-current on Sunday. Others were rescued and treated at the scene.

“It can be weeks before the bodies wash up and it is possible that they may never emerge,” captain Anton Groenewald was quoted by the Beeld newspaper as telling a meeting with locals.

The South African Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins told local media the accident was a “devastating tragedy”.