ABOVE: Jean Coetzee and his girlfriend Vicky before he died in the tornado.
That evening at about 7 pm a group of friends were chatting at the braai outside a holiday home on the Vaal Dam when they heard a weird noise.
Suddenly there was a deafening clap of thunder and the power tripped in the house behind them. That’s when they saw it.
“The thing came out of the dam. It was like a tall brown rotating pillar,” Alberton bookkeeper Vicky Burger (20) recalls.
She knows now the terrifying natural phenomenon was a tornado – one several that struck in the east and northeast of the Free State on Saturday 23 June.
It claimed five lives, injured scores and left about 600 people homeless.
Vicky’s boyfriend, Jean Coetzee (22), was one of the victims. Jean’s mother, Colleen (41), sits beside Vicky.
Not only has she lost her son but two weeks ago she was standing at the graveside of her husband, Jacques (43).
“I have mixed feelings,” she says about her double loss. “It feels as if you’re being punished but you don’t know what for.”
Read more in Jaco Hough-Coetzee’s article in YOU 12 July 2012.
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