Honeymoon couple drown off South Africa beach days after wedding


A newly-wed couple have drowned off the coast of South Africa in a honeymoon tragedy.

John Rodgers, 28, and his wife Lynette, 26, died on Friday after getting into trouble in rough seas in Plettenberg Bay - just six days after they walked down the aisle.

Friends of the young couple, from Holywood in Northern Ireland, said they were "shocked" at the "absolute tragedy".

A photograph of the couple shows Mrs Rodgers in her wedding dress and bouquet gazing adoringly into her husband's eyes.

North Down DUP MLA Gordon Dunne, who knows the family, said: "I am very shocked and saddened by the tragic news of the death of this young couple on their honeymoon in South Africa.

"This is an absolutely tragedy and my heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family of both the young man and young lady who have sadly passed away. For a tragedy like this to happen days after their wedding during their honeymoon is beyond words.

"There is widespread shock and a real sense of numbness within the local community in Holywood at this time, particularly as the young lady was born in Holywood, attended the local schools in the area, and was from a very well respected family.

"My heart goes out to the grieving families and I trust and pray that the family may know God's help at this tragic time."

The body of Mr Rodgers was discovered in shallow surf on Robberg Beach by a local man at around 6pm on Friday, South Africa's National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said.

His wife's body was found around 200 metres away along the same beach, the Institute said.

Doctors performed CPR on the couple but they were pronounced dead.

The institute said: "It is suspected that they drowned. Sea conditions were rough with strong rip-currents in the vicinity.

"Police have opened an inquest docket and although no foul play is suspected, the deaths are being investigated."

The couple tied the knot in front of family and friends at the First Presbyterian Church, Holywood, last Saturday.

Mrs Rodgers, a physiotherapist, posted a message on Facebook on Monday thanking her loved ones for coming to her wedding.

She wrote: "John and myself would like to thank to everyone that joined us on Saturday and for all the well wishes!

"We greatly appreciate it and had the best day ever. Heading off today so will speak to everyone when we return! Xx"

She had changed her cover photo to a picture of her and her four smiling bridesmaids.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We can confirm the deaths of two British nationals in South Africa on Friday October 23.

"We are providing assistance to both families at this extremely difficult time."