A newlywed couple drowned in South Africa on their honeymoon, just six days after they tied the knot.
John and Lynette Rodgers, from Holywood in Northern Ireland, were found on a beach at Plettenberg Bay on October 23. According to South Africa's National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), the husband was found by a local man on Robbery Beach around 6 p.m., and the wife was found about 200 yards away. Doctors performed CPR, but the couple was pronounced dead at the scene.
"It is suspected that they drowned," stated the NSRI. "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."
In a statement released on October 25, families of the newlywed couple said, “It has come as a great shock to both the Reilly and Rodgers families to learn of the sudden and tragic events in South Africa, which has taken the lives of Lynette and John. Our happiness in sharing their recent wedding has been thoroughly devastated. Both were very dearly loved and brought us great joy.”
Gordon Dunne, a North Down DUP MLA who is a friend of the family, said, "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."
Martin McGuinness, Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister, expressed his condolences on Twitter. "Very sad to hear the tragic news of young Co.Down couple who were drowned whilst on honeymoon in South Africa. My sympathy to their families."
On Monday, October 19, Lynette Rodgers posted a Facebook message to thank her wedding guests and to express her excitement for the upcoming honeymoon.
"John and myself would like to thank to everyone that joined us on Saturday and for all the well wishes," she exclaimed. "We greatly appreciate it and had the best day ever. Heading off today so will speak to everyone when we return!"
Her last post was a photo of the meal she and her husband ate at the airport, on the way to South Africa.