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A drowning tragedy at Camps Bay’s Glen Beach on Boxing Day, in which a father drowned while trying to save his family, could have ended in more deaths were it not for teenage surfing champion Tanika Hoffman, who leapt into the sea to assist the family in distress.
Relaying the story on Wednesday, Hoffman, 19, said she was about to go for a swim when she noticed a commotion in the water.
“The dad and three children - his daughter and their two cousins - were in the water struggling.” They had been hit by a wave and swept out by the current.
Hoffman swam towards the father, Anwar Hoosain, 45, and the children.
“I swam out to the first girl who was on a boogie board. She said, ‘please please, help my cousins’. The boy had climbed on to a rock but the little girl … was struggling as she tried to grab on to the rock.”
Hoffman, who is a three-times SA surfing champion and came ninth at the international championships in Panama this year, said: “I had looked across and saw the dad, but the little girl was struggling, too.
“While I swam her back to shore - me on my back and the little girl on top of me - we swam past a guy on a stand-up board so I quickly told him to go back for the dad. The little girl I was pulling in was panicking and in tears,” Hoffman said.
She swam back to the other girl while someone helped her male cousin on the rock. The girl - about 12 or 13 - was desperately clinging to her boogie board.
Hoffman pulled her back to shore.
“Many others then swam in, but nearly got sucked into the current. The guy on the stand-up board and his friends had managed to get the dad - who already looked unconscious - on to the board and were pulling him back.”
By then, says Hoffman, others had gone to get help from officials on Camps Bay beach. Despite the best efforts of paramedics who performed CPR, Hoosain was declared dead on the scene.
Hoosain’s family, who lives in Bellville, were too shaken to speak to the press.
Hoffman said: “I knew the dad needed my help, too, but it was such a difficult situation because he was so much bigger than me, and I prioritised the little girl,” she says. - Cape Times
A very heart breaking story. Tanika never doubt your actions my darling you did what anybody would of done. You saved a young persons life and be proud of what you did. My thoughts and prayers with the family in this sad time.
What a very brave thing to do.Peace and blessings to you and the family of the deceased.
special agent, wrote
this wonderful young lady deserves a very special award for remaining so cool headed
Well done! You do us proud!
Weel done! You do us proud!
Don't second guess yourself. You did the right thing.
The girl is an angel. So sad for the family to lose the dad though, the sea has to be respected, where were the lifegaurds?
Don't dwell on what could've been with Hoosain, Tanika - rather focus on the young life you DID save. You did a brave thing and have given a young girl an opportunity to life.
Miss Marley, wrote
that is a very sad story, luckily surfer girl was there. Could've been much worse.
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