A man has died after falling off his horse into the sea in South Africa.

The unnamed man drowned at Noordhoek beach, Cape Town, on Tuesday (28 December).

“The man was riding a horse with fellow riders, from local stables, when it was reported that he was thrown from his horse, in shallow surf, and immediately disappeared beneath breakers,” National Sea Rescue Institute spokesman Craig Lambinon told local press.

He fell off around 7.30am. An extensive search was carried out. His body was spotted by helicopter and recovered by rescue swimmers around an hour and a half later.

The 35-year-old was one of a group of riders riding out racehorses on the beach.

Mike Stewart, who runs the racing operation told local press the riders had been walking the horses on the coastline in “ankle-deep” water.

“It wasn’t rough or anything — he just disappeared, and never even surfaced,” he said. “He was a confident rider.”