saps banner
2022/11/11      |  Written By:  Colonel P Naidu   |   Province:  Eastern Cape

Gqeberha: 10 November  2022 - Sarah Baartman District Commissioner, Brig John Lebok commended the search and rescue team responsible for  the recovery of a suspected suicide victim who plunged to his death off the Bloukrans bridge between Sunday, 6/11 and Monday, 7/11.

It is alleged that on Monday, 7/11 at about 15:00, SAPS Stormsriver was alerted to a suspicious motor bike that was parked partially in bushes near the Bloukrans bridge. Immediately a search was conducted to locate the owner of the bike.

With the use of binoculars, police spotted something colourful in the bushes below the bridge which raised a  suspicion. Early on Tuesday morning, 8/11 Gqeberha K9 Search and Rescue Unit, SAPS Diving Unit, Metro EMS (Gqeberha and Sarah Baartman) and SAPS Stormsriver members  were deployed to the bridge. The Search and Rescue team  established that the only way to get to the body was through the use of air support.

On Wednesday, 9/11, retrieval attempts were suspended due to strong winds and rain.

Today, 10/11, at about 11:30, with the assistance of SA Air Force from Gqeberha, the K9 Search and Rescue Unit and the SAPS Diving unit , the recovery operation commenced. Almost three hours later (14:15), the body of a 47 year old was airlifted from a depth of 180m from the top of the bridge. The bridge is 216m high.

The deceased was identified as Matthys Cornelis Bothma from  Gauteng.

Police have opened an inquest docket.

Brig Lebok  attributed this successful  recovery to the expertise and experience of all involved.’ This was one of the most difficult recoveries that our members have undertaken. As part of their duties, they risked their own lives by abseiling from such a precarious height. It is clear that these members are well  skilled and trained in their field of search and rescue. The services of the SA Air Force is appreciated and we thank them for their assistance.  The efforts of the entire team is highly commendable,’ added Brig Lebok. 


The search and rescue team responsible for the recovery of a suspected suicide victim