CAPE TOWN, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Three Navy personnel died in a South African submarine incident here on Wednesday, local media reported.
The incident happened when the Navy mariners were apparently washed off the deck of a submarine, after a "huge wave" hit the vessel just off the coast of Cape Town in the Western Cape province, the reports said.
Five other mariners were saved and rushed to hospital in a subsequent rescue operation.
Western Cape police spokesperson Malcolm Pojie said preliminary reports suggested that two men were washed out to sea after the wave hit during what appeared to be an exercise.
"It is reported that some of the colleagues attempted to rescue the men," Pojie was quoted as saying.
"An integrated search and rescue operation was immediately launched, comprising National Sea Rescue Institute, South African Police Service Search and Rescue and the South African Navy, supported by air support. Two bodies were recovered," he added.
Four of those rescued did not appear to have suffered significant injuries, while one was in critical condition, according to media reports.
Details surrounding the circumstances leading to the incident were not immediately clear so far.