Family swept to sea in freak accident in Toti lagoon

2010-12-30 00:00

A PIETERSBURG family of eight on holiday in Amanzimtoti were swept out to sea on their hired paddle boats yesterday after a freak accident when a sand bank between a lagoon and the sea gave way.

The Mohammeds were enjoying a day at the Amanzimtoti main beach lagoon yesterday morning.

Parents Fuhad and Muneera Mohammed, both 42, were sharing a leisure boat with two of their youngest children while their other children, aged between six and 18, were in different boat.

NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon said that when the sand bank separating the lagoon from the sea caved in with no warning, the water started to exit the lagoon.

The boat the children were on was swept towards the mouth of the lagoon.

When the father saw this, he paddled his boat in the children’s direction to try to help them. However, his boat was also drawn into the surf.

The children’s boat was swept towards the southern bank at the mouth of the lagoon, while the parents and younger siblings were drawn in the opposite direction.

They were all washed off their boats by the waves which battered them as they exited the lagoon and they ended up in the surf.

Luckily all eight had life-jackets and were rescued by the Toti lifeguards.

Lambinon said, “Mr Mohammed sustained a laceration to his left leg. All family members were transported to hospital by an ambulance as a precautionary measure. Mr Mohammed received sutures at hospital for his laceration.”

According to Netcare911’s Jeff Wicks, paramedics initially received a report of eight missing people after their boats were pulled into the surf around 11.30 am. The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), the KZN Emergency Medical and Rescue Service and the Discovery Surf Rescue helicopter received similar calls.

The family were released from hospital yesterday as they required no further assistance, he added.

In the process, the family lost the keys to their vehicle and were given a lift to where they are staying after their release from hospital.

Now the Mohammeds face the problem of getting a new set of car keys, which they hope to do this morning.

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