Cape Town beach baptism leaves three dead after drownings

Three men drowned after a sea baptism went wrong on the coast of Cape Town. After a long period, the search for one of the bodies was called off.


A Sunday morning baptism in Cape Town took a truly tragic turn as three men drowned on the Monwabisi beach.

According to local law enforcement, the incident took place at the beach near Khayelitsha at 7:45.

“While conducting the baptism‚ two of the church members got into difficulty in the water,” said spokesman Wayne Dyason.

A third man then entered the water in an attempt to rescue the church members. The water was still too strong and all three men eventually drowned.

Dyason says that the False Bay coastline is a very popular area for sea baptisms.

Two of the three bodies were found by National Sea Rescue Institute officials on Sunday afternoon. The South African Police Service (SAPS) diving unit remained on the scene searching for the third person.

The search for the body was called off on Monday morning after numerous tidal movements.

“SAPS indicted this morning that they would not resume with the search as the body could be anywhere, due to the tidal movements. An SAPS helicopter will do an area reconnaissance only.”

It is still currently unclear what church group was carrying out the baptism as well as whether the third man was connected to the church in any way.

According to law enforcement, sea baptisms take place in their thousands every year at beaches across the country. Those being baptised are normally in their adult years.

Monwabisi beach is known for its often dangerous water levels and strong swells together with gusting winds. The beach’s proximity to the Khayelitsha township means it is still used by hundreds of thousands annually for swimming purposes.