Midnight beach trip turns fatal

2011-07-09 00:00

THE family of a Pretoria holiday maker are holding vigil at Ramsgate beach, waiting for the body of Cobus Coetzee to be recovered after a midnight beach trip turned fatal.

Coetzee (22) is feared to have drowned at Ramsgate Beach at about midnight on Thursday.

His sister Christelle said they came down to the South Coast to attend a Christian conference on Wednesday. They were with three friends and had decided stay over for the remainder of the week.

She said she didn’t feel like going out to the beach in the chilly evening so she remained at the flat while her companions went for a swim.

“After the conference we decided to remain for a short holiday with the aim of going back to Pretoria on Sunday. I remained at the flat, so I can’t figure out how things could have gone this wrong. He’s my only sibling and our family are devastated by the news, but we are hoping that God will come through for us,” said Christelle.

She said her mother was on her way to Ramsgate.

One of the friends, Adriaan Marais, said he couldn’t tell what had happened as it was extremely dark.

“We hadn’t really started to swim, but somehow we were caught by a wave. We came out and one of my friends noticed that Cobus was missing and we started searching around, but with no luck. We then called for help and until now we don’t know how or where he disappeared,” said Marais.

The sea conditions on the South Coast were rough and windy from Wednesday.

National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) spokesman Mark Harlen said they received a call just after midnight to help search for Coetzee, but the sea was too rough to launch the rescue craft then. It was eventually launched at 10 am yesterday.

The NSRI’s Craig Lambinon said the search was suspended late yesterday, but will continue tomorrow, and they are confident that if the body washes up, it will be spotted by beachgoers.

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