Jozini boat fire: Search continues for missing crew member

Jozini boat fire: Search continues for missing crew member

As the search for a missing crew member of a houseboat that caught alight in northern KwaZulu-Natal continues for a fourth day, his family says they are praying for him to be found.

Jozini Dam boat fire pic
Nushera Soodyal

The fire engulfed the Shayamanzi One on Saturday while it was on a cruise on the Jozini Dam.

Four crew members and five guests jumped overboard to escape the flames.

Six of them were able to swim to shore.

Crewman, Michael Phiri, who worked as a chef on the boat and elderly German tourist Michael Mirschel, drowned.

Another crew member, Maxwell Nyawo from Mtubatuba, has yet to be found and is presumed drowned.

His sister, Busi Nyawo, says it's been a difficult couple of days.

"Even now, I feel so numb, I don't feel okay because it's difficult. It does occur to me that the incident happened but it's just so surreal.

“Right now, all I wish for is for God to give us strength, at least if we could find him my heart will accept it, as difficult as it might be, we will accept and our minds will be at peace."

At the same time, the son of the German national who drowned was also on the boat and survived the ordeal.

In a social media post, Alex Mirschel wrote that the last 48 hours had been the worst of their lives.

He says after jumping into water, they fought high waves and a strong undercurrent as they tried to get to shore.

Alex wrote that his 64-year-old father was already in so much shock that he didn't have any energy to fight independently.

He says some members of the group helped get Michael to shore but that he had already passed away by then.

The Mirschel family is making its way to the German embassy in Pretoria to make arrangements for the return of the elderly man’s remains.


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