Eastern Cape - A 29-year-old man has died following a freak New Year's Day swimming accident in Port Alfred, according to a report on Wednesday.

The Herald Online reported that Lyall Beadon, the son of a Port Elizabeth school principal, died of cardiac arrest on Tuesday morning at the Aurora Hospital in Port Elizabeth.

On New Year's Day, he crushed a critical neck vertebra after diving into a wave that slammed him into a sandbank.

His father, Laurie Beadon, Dominic's Priory junior school principal, and the family were devastated by his death.

Lyall was paralysed from the chest. He was treated at the Life Beacon Bay Hospital in East London before he was transferred to Aurora Hospital on Thursday. - Sapa