WATCH | US tourist's rental car takes a dip in Hermanus Harbour, lifted out by crane

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  • A rental car hired by an American tourist plunged into the water at the Hermanus Harbour.
  • The tourist was collecting his scuba gear from Neptune's Divers and Cruises when the vehicle rolled into the water.
  • A crane, which was stationed at the harbour, was used to extract the vehicle.

The wheels of misfortune spun disaster for one American tourist when his rented vehicle took a dip in the water at the Hermanus Harbour on Friday morning.

The vehicle spent the better part of the afternoon submerged. 

"He had his laptop, his camera, his lenses, his whole life was in that car," said Marx Mohr, owner of Neptune's Divers and Cruises, which is located at the harbour. 

"He was just beginning a nine-month stint in Africa and planned to drive up the east coast."

The tourist had come to collect his scuba gear from Neptune's, which he left to dry overnight after a dive.

"He arrived to collect his stuff and parked just outside our office," Marx's wife, Makayla, told News24. 

"As he was approaching the office, I saw the car rolling behind his back, and I shouted."


The incident happened at 09:30. 

When the tourist wanted to get his belongings from the floating car, Makayla advised him that it would be too risky.

But, despite the initial shock, she said he handled the situation calmly.

"He was actually very calm, cool and collected. He handled it very well, probably better than most people. He was on the ball straight away talking to the insurance," she said.

Makayla said they couldn't touch the vehicle until the insurance company gave the go-ahead.

"We were only able to lift it out at about 14:00." 

The recovery operation went smoothly, she said.

Fortunately, the car landed in the water in front of the harbour crane, which was used to lift the vehicle from the ocean floor. 

"Commercial divers dived down to the vehicle to attach straps that were used to haul the vehicle out," she said.

Hermanus Towing kept a close eye on the car as it was lowered, to make sure it landed on its tyres.

It is still unclear what caused the vehicle to roll into the harbour.

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