Shocked relatives to attend funeral instead of a wedding

2013-02-25 00:00

EVERYTHING was ready for a wedding, but now a funeral will be held.

That was the tragic end to a fairytale when a bridegroom-to-be was shot dead with his own gun in a freak accident on Friday.

Seymore Coetsee (34), manager of the luxury hunting farm Swala Lodge about 30 km west of Bela-Bela near Mabalingwe, was shot while moving a washing machine in the brand new house he and his fiancée were moving into.

A heartbroken Bryn Thomas, owner of the farm, said the pistol safety catch was apparently not engaged and a shot went off when the firearm fell to the floor.

Coetsee always carried the gun tucked into the back of his belt. The bullet struck him in the stomach and exited through his back and then lodged in the ceiling.

His fiancée, Samantha Sampson (34), was standing just steps behind him when the shot went off.

The couple were moving furniture into the ir house near the resort building.

Their wedding was supposed to take place next Saturday.

“Seymore wanted to get everything in the house just right because it was Sam’s birthday on Saturday.

“The washing machine was skew and he was straightening it when the firearm fell,” said Thomas.

Coetsee was still alive after the shooting, but because the farm is so far from town, it took an hour-and-a-half for an ambulance to arrive.

Coetsee was first taken to hospital at Bela-Bela, but because he needed emergency surgery, a decision was taken to transfer him to a hospital in Pretoria.

However, he died in the ambulance on the second journey.

“Sam was with me in the car as we followed the ambulance,” said Thomas.

“We were all like family on the farm and he worked for me for 13 years. He was a professional hunter, and was even known in overseas hunting circles. This morning I got messages of condolence from all over, even from American senators. It is so unreal,” Thomas said.

“They were the loveliest couple, who were so looking forward to their lives together at Swala.

“His family had to cope with the death of an uncle two months ago who fell down some stairs and bled to death,” he said.

Coetsee’s sister, Annemie, who is married to Sampson’s brother, arrived from the UK yesterday for the wedding, unaware of the tragedy.

Coetsee’s aunt, Trudie Laubscher, said it was terrible to collect family members from the airport and tell them a wedding had become a funeral.

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