SEARCH FOR MISSING FOREIGN STUDENT DOWNSCALED

At 11 o’clock on Tuesday 24 April, the South African Police Service held an impromptu press briefing at Myoli Beach, regarding the missing Norwegian girl Marie Ostbo (21). The basic message given by Communications Officer Captain Malcolm Poje, was that the ongoing search had, as yet, still not produced any clue of the whereabouts of the missing girl or indeed what had happened to her on Wednesday 18 April, and that the time had come to ‘downscale’ search efforts.

“It has already been seven days since she was reported missing, so whilst we will resume the search tomorrow, it will be a scaled down operation as far as our resources are concerned,” he said.

Marie, who arrived in Sedgefield with a group of international student tourists on Wednesday, 18th April, has been missing since approximately 19h00 that evening, after failing to return home from a walk on the beach with friends. Reportedly, when the weather started turning, the others in her party had headed off the beach for shelter and only realised that Marie hadn’t returned to the back-packers a short while later. When they couldn’t locate her, the authorities were called and a search ensued.

During this search, a cell phone and shoes belonging to Marie were located and recovered by Police on the beach in the early hours of the following morning. The SA Police Services, Community Police, a Police K-9 Search and Rescue Unit, a Police Dive Unit, WC Government Health EMS, WSAR (Wilderness Search and Rescue), the ASR/EMS Skymed rescue helicopter, NSRI Wilderness crew, and Neighbourhood Watch members have been combing the area on both land and sea since then, but without success.

At the press briefing held in the Myoli Beach car park, Captain Poje told local and foreign journalists that SAPS do not suspect any foul play at this stage and that currently, the evidence points towards a sea drowning. They will, however, continue to treat the scene as a crime scene and investigate any future leads. When asked if the public release of the missing girl’s picture on Monday 23 April had provided any fresh information, Poje said this had produced several lines of inquiry, all of which had been followed up on.  Sadly no positive results were forthcoming.
POJE warned that if the girl has indeed drowned, her body may well wash up quite a way along the coastline.

Police continue to appeal to anyone with information that can assist in this case to call Knysna Police at 044-3026600.