An unnamed Zimbabwean student studying in South Africa, Port Elizabeth, was swept out to sea by currents yesterday, Sunday afternoon, it has been reported.

When the 22-year-old disappeared under the water at the beach, described as ”barely accessible”, a massive rescue operation was activated.

Sardinia Bay Surf Lifeguards, who had been on duty at the swimming beach 100m away, started the search for him and a sea rescue craft was towed to Sardinia Bay, and pulled over the sand dunes to launch at the scene.

The Eastern Cape health department’s medical helicopter Aeromed 3, Coastal Water Rescue rescue swimmers, NSRI Port Elizabeth and sea rescue swimmers along with the police all went out to look for him, according to reports on the ground.

His lifeless body was spotted in the surfline, 500m to the west, but the rough sea and rocks made it difficult for the rescue swimmers and the rescue craft to reach him.

The search had to be suspended at last light and a police dive unit will continue with a search and recovery operation today, on Monday morning.