A sunny day out swimming at the beach ended in tragedy when two friends drowned.
Charles Arries, 27, and Sydian Moolman, 19, from Chestnut Place, Belhar, were out with friends at Mnandi Beach, Mitchells Plain, on Sunday afternoon.
Friends and other beachgoers then watched helplessly as they disappeared under the surf at around 4pm.
Their friend Taswill Stanley, 20, who also got into trouble in the strong currents, says Charles was trying to help Sydian when they both went under.
“I was in the water with them and I could also feel the water pulling me in but I managed to get out,” he says.
“I wanted to help them but I couldn’t so I stood in the water and called for help.
“Sydian was struggling so Charles tried to help him but then he was also pulled deeper.
“Dit was nie lekker om te sien hoe hulle verdrink nie. (It was awful watching them drown)”
Hours after they vanished, Charles’ body washed up, while a fisherman unknowingly pulled up Sydian’s body with his line.
Charles was a father of two and Sydian leaves behind a nine-month old baby girl.
Taswill says the friends decided at the last minute to go to the beach on Sunday.
“Sydian was the one who decided that we must go to the beach,” he says.
“We had a very nice afternoon swimming then we got out and went to eat.
“A few minutes after they were done eating, they went back into the water.
“We had something to drink but we were not drunk.
“Daai was nie genoeg nie [to get intoxicated], ons het almal geweet wat ons doen.”
Another friend, Virgil Hendricks, 22, says he was saddened by what he witnessed.
“Other people who were at the beach called for help but it was too late,” he says.
“They screamed for help and people attempted to help but no one could get to them.
“We could only watch as they went deeper,” he says.
Constable Noloyiso Rwexana confirmed the incident.
“Two cases of death Inquest are under investigation.
“Police recorded two incidents of drowning at Mnandi Beach, Rocklands, at 6.20pm, both bodies were later found,” she says.
Law enforcement’s Wayne Dyason confirmed the two deaths, saying the men succumbed in “relatively mild surf”. “The bodies washed out later and both were declared deceased at the scene.”