Bystanders did all they could to help a Despatch couple when they were whipped around in choppy waves before drowning while on holiday in Bali last Monday, one witness said.
"We tried," Luke Scarborough of the UK told News24. "No one could go in or same thing would have happened to them."
Scarborough and his girlfriend had been at Nusa Lembongan island when the boat of SA farmer Victor Allers and his Brazilian wife Fatima Turner overturned near Devil's Tear cove.
"The boat got too close to the cove and the next thing we knew, a big wave came. The boat flipped over, rolled and turned again," he said.
He rushed off to alert the authorities to what had happened and saw the two tourists and captain "drift around" as the waves crashed against them.
He believes both died quickly. Neither had been wearing life jackets.
'Couldn't get near them'
Scarborough and other bystanders had used floating rings and rope to try and help the three.
"We couldn't even get near them. The captain had managed to grab hold of one after he was in the water for about 30, 40 minutes," he said.
"He had just managed to keep his head above the water. We pulled him up and took him to an ambulance. But there was nothing we could do for them."
The waves had been choppier as the tides were affected by the full moon, Scarborough said.
Last Monday was meant to be the final day of the married Eastern Cape couple's two-week vacation.
Bali's Search and Rescue Agency told local publication Coconuts Bali that Allers and Turner had died after their boat capsized, while the captain of Nagasima-Go, who was taking the two around Nusa Lembongan, was injured but survived.
Relative Belinda Coetzee last week told News24 the couple, who each had one child, had been island-hopping in Southeast Asia at the time.
They owned a welding business and a pig farm just outside Despatch, a small town in between Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape.
The couple had been retrieved from the water by a passing boat but had already been unconscious, Coconuts Bali reported. They were declared dead at a local community health centre.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) confirmed it was rendering the necessary consular assistance to Allers' family.