A tragic incident unfolded in Leentjiesklip, George, in the southern Cape on Saturday when a powerful wave struck a parking area, resulting in the death of a 93-year-old woman. The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) reported that the elderly woman was swept off her feet by the force of the wave, causing chaos in the car park as vehicles were also carried away.
According to Craig Lambinon, spokesperson for the NSRI, one man was injured during the incident and had to be transported to the hospital. Lambinon issued a warning that the dangerous conditions would persist on Sunday, with the peak of the storm expected between 3 pm and 6 pm in the afternoon.
The South African Weather Service (Saws) meteorologist, Lelo Kleinbooi, explained that the storm surge, which caused the abnormal volume of water to accumulate against the coastline, was a result of an intense low-pressure system and a powerful cold front passing through the region.
Kleinbooi emphasized the potential impacts of a storm surge, including damage to coastal infrastructure, beach erosion, and the disruption of beachfront activities. Areas such as Gordon’s Bay, Three Anchor Bay, Sandy Bay, and Still Bay in the Western Cape were particularly affected.
Amidst the chaos, the NSRI was able to respond swiftly to reports of individuals caught in rip currents. Eyewitnesses at Sandy Bay reported a teenager on a bodyboard being trapped, but the teen managed to extricate himself from the water without any issues. At Three Anchor Bay, a 25-year-old man from Johannesburg also found himself caught in rip currents but successfully rescued himself.
However, not all incidents had a fortunate outcome. In Table Bay, a man was rushed to the hospital due to hypothermia but is expected to recover fully.
The harrowing scenes of the storm were captured on social media, with videos showing massive waves uprooting cars and even hitting patrons in a restaurant in Kalk Bay.
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