What was supposed to be a relaxing week-long holiday at the beach turned into a nightmare for a Pretoria family, after their loved one went missing at sea while trying to save his friends whose kayak had capsized.
Pretoria-resident Beyers Coetzee and a group of his friends went on holiday to Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape, when disaster struck.
According to his family, the group went to Port St Johns on Wednesday and were supposed to return home on Sunday.
His heartbroken sister-in-law Daniella Coetzee said they are trying to come to terms with what happened.
“He was waiting with some of his friends’ children on the shore on Saturday. Two of the guys went out to sea on a kayak. They watched as the guys were riding the kayak into the sea, and it capsized. The two men fell into the water. As I understand it, Beyers saw that, and he rushed into the sea and swam to the kayak,” she said.
According to the sister-in-law, Beyers used the kayak to row to where his friends were, but he also capsized.
“The kids who were standing on the beach all saw what happened, and they didn’t see him come up again,” she added.
Daniella said the two other men were taken by a riptide and emerged about 300 metres away.
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His ex-wife Ronel Coetzee said the group was still in Port St Johns and would decide at the end of the week when they would be travelling back home.
She said all the family could do was pray.
“We are sending all our prayers, and the whole family is basically supporting us. My older son is in Germany, unfortunately. He relocated a month ago. Myself and [our] two sons stay in contact all the time and speak a lot on video calls. It is all we can do.”
She said her sons, Johannes, 24, and Dawid, 20, were devastated.
“The boys are shattered. It is the worst thing they have ever had to face,” Ronel said.
She described her ex-husband as “very adventurous.
“The boys were very close to their dad. We are hoping for the best.”
National Sea Rescue Institute spokesperson Craig Lambinon confirmed they were working with police divers to search for Coetzee.