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WATCH: Boat launch gone wrong - bakkie goes for a swim

23 January, 10:57 AM

Sharlene Rood, News24

Bakkies are built tough – but not even this Toyota Hilux could withstand the might of the Indian Ocean.

Dirk Kriel, a member of the Ballito Ski Boat Fishing Club, was helping Herman Labuschagne launch his boat Pella from Salmon Bay, KwaZulu-Natal in the early hours of Monday 22 January. Disaster struck shortly after. The boat launched without a hitch but the bakkie was caught in the swell. It lost traction and soon the vehicle was submerged and being pelted by waves.  

Kriel managed to escape through the passenger side window of the bakkie and swam to safety. He was not injured in the incident.

Martin Taljaard, another member of the Ballito Ski Boat Fishing Club was on the scene only moments after the first wave hit Kriel.

He explained that vehicles are used to launch boats at Salmon Bay - a difficult launch site. 

"We have three or four boats that launch from here, all with experienced skippers," Taljaard told News24. 

"The conditions were just very difficult on the morning in question."

Taljaard and another member of the club tried to tow the vehicle using their own 4x4's. They managed to only slightly pull it from the waves.

"We really struggled. The vehicle was very heavy because of the amount of sand and water inside."

The fire department was contacted and they managed to tow the bakkie from the beach.

Taljaard told News24 that the bakkie had been written off.

"We went to the panel beaters; the bakkie has water and sand damage - it's bent and the tyres are no longer on the wheels!"

Labuschagne, who had guests on his boat, wasn't able to return to shore as the slipway had been closed immediately after the incident. As a result, they went out fishing as planned.

"They caught three fish," Taljaard said.

"What a way to start a Monday."

Watch. 

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