East London Police Diver Hero Tragically Drowns During Rescue in Nahoon River
East London Police Diver Hero, Captain Pierre Marx, has Tragically Drowned During Rescue in Nahoon River. Photo: SAPS

A 53-year-old Eastern Cape police diver and recipient of bravery awards, Captain Pierre Marx, has tragically drowned during a rescue operation in Nahoon River.

Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Nomthetheleli Mene, expressed shock and devastation at the loss of one of the South African Police Service’s (SAPS’) proficient divers; and said his untimely passing has sent shockwaves through the SAPS family and the community who have voiced their distress.

Captain Marx went missing yesterday afternoon, Saturday 8 January, during a rescue in strong currents; and his body was recovered early this morning.

Captain Pierre Marx
K9 Search and Rescue Captain Pierre Marx has sadly drowned during a rescue operation. Photo: SAPS

A preliminary report suggests that Captain Marx was attending to a complaint of drowning, together with his co-divers from East London K9 Search and Rescue. The complaint related to four people who had allegedly been swept off Horse Shoe Valley causeway, SAPS said in a statement today.


When Captain Marx and his colleagues arrived at the scene, they established that the complainant – believed to be a local farmer – was on the Island in the main stream of the Nahoon River, together with three deceased whilst the fourth one was still missing in the river.

According to the report, the officers managed to take the three bodies across the stream. But it was after the successful rescue of the complainant/farmer, that Captain Marx struggled with a strong current which was sweeping him away. Despite valiant attempts by his colleagues to rescue him, Captain Marx disappeared into the heavy stream.

We have lost a dedicated and dependable hero,

After his body was located this morning, SAPS paid tribute, describing Captain Marx as a well-known member of the SAPS who made a name for himself both within and outside the SAPS for his outstanding heroic rescue activities within the Province.

East London Police Diver Hero Tragically Drowns During Rescue in Nahoon River
Captain Pierre Marx had won a couple of Bravery Awards. Photo: SAPS

He was very popular among various communities who witnessed his sense of commitment and empathy for the plight of the people. He had won a couple of Bravery Awards, of which one was when he saved a young boy from drowning in a storm water drain in East London.

Lieutenant General Nomthetheleli Mene visited the scene this morning, before proceeding to the mortuary where Captain Marx’s body is lying whilst arrangements for his funeral are still underway.

Addressing Captain Marx’s colleagues and SAPS management after her visit, the Provincial Commissioner reiterated her devastation at the loss of the late Hero. She said:

“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.”

Captain Pierre Marx
Captain Pierre Marx. Photo: SAPS

Funeral details will be announced in due course.