Briton swept out to sea in rescue bid

A British expedition leader was swept out to sea off South Africa after diving into the shark-infested water to help a group of schoolchildren in difficulty.

Sean Foxcroft, 24, from Manchester, was leading a team of 15 students aged between 16 and 18 on a four-week World Challenge trip.

A search was launched for the missing man but the South African authorities said he was "presumed to have drowned".

Mr Foxcroft was supervising the teenagers as they played rugby with another World Challenge group on the beach at St Lucia, north of Durban on South Africa's east coast.

Some of the students went into the shallow surf to cool off, but strong undercurrents dragged them out of their depth and they began to struggle.

Along with another expedition leader, Mr Foxcroft went into the water to help them but he was overwhelmed by the waves and carried out to sea.

The South African authorities launched a major sea, air and land search but failed to find him.

A spokesman for South Africa's National Sea Rescue Institute said today: "Shore patrols conducted during the night have revealed no signs of the missing man, who is presumed to have drowned."

World Challenge said the rescue mission was still ongoing.

The company said in a statement: "The team had been playing rugby on the beach when some of the team members entered the shallow surf to cool down but were swept out beyond their depth and began to struggle with the strong currents.

"Two expedition leaders went to provide assistance but although the team members made it back to the shore safely, one expedition leader was overwhelmed by the conditions and was carried out to sea."

Nobody else was hurt in the incident, World Challenge head of communications Chris Gallant said.

The students, accompanied by four teachers, had spent the past three-and-a-half weeks trekking in South Africa and were on the final wind-down phase of their trip.

They are due to return to the UK on Wednesday and in the meantime are receiving counselling for their ordeal.

World Challenge would not confirm their school, but said they were one of 317 UK school expedition teams travelling to a total of 40 destinations with the company this summer.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Junior Artworker / Junior Mac Artworker

£18 - 23k + Bonus + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Junior Artworker / Junior Mac Ar...

Guru Careers: Trainee Installation Engineer / Field Service Engineer / Customer Support Exec

£16 - 18k: Guru Careers: A Trainee Installation Engineer / Field Service Engin...

Recruitment Genius: Software Programmer / Developer

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This ambitious and friendly sof...

Recruitment Genius: Software Sales Executive - OTE £80,000

£50000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company has been ...

Day In a Page

A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935