Gloria Edwards, Beeld
07/10/2008 09:45 – (SA)
Pretoria – Before the school trip, he had jokingly said he was scared they’d leave him in the sea.
„That is why I am so relieved they found him. I didn’t want to leave him there in the sea,“ said Vanessa Pretorius, 37, on Monday, after the body of her son Jason, 16, was found on Dwarsweg beach in the Southern Cape.
Jason and two other boys, Michael Eager, 16, and Darius Kruger, 17, drowned on September 24 – Jason’s mother’s birthday – when their inflatable canoes capsized at Southern Cross beach near Great Brak River.
Jason’s body only washed up on Sunday morning, about 5km from Great Brak.
Before Jason left on a school outing to the Southern Cape with a group of Grade 10 pupils from Die Anker High School in Brakpan, he referred to the film Deep Blue Sea, in which sharks eat people.
„He had jokingly said he was scared they might forget him at sea,“ his mother remembered.
His father Rudi Pretorius, 41, received a call at about 10:30 on Sunday to say that his son’s body had been found. „It had been ten days of hell and we were still hoping that he would be found alive, but now we have peace of mind. Now we at least have something to bury.“
The funeral, which had been arranged for Wednesday, has been postponed, according to Jason’s mother. „I went ahead with the arrangements, because I was convinced he would be found. But the post-mortem will be done on Wednesday, so his body can’t be handed over yet.“
Life jackets, stormy sea
The family won’t blame anyone until investigations have been completed. „Some things bother us, like that they were not using the right life jackets and that the sea was stormy before they started rowing, but we don’t want to point fingers yet,“ said Jason’s father.
Jason’s stepmother, Adele, went to identify the body on Monday. „We decided not to go, because we wanted to remember him the way he was…. a real joker who was crazy about sport. He was a big Christian,“ his father said.
Jason also leaves an older brother, Ruan, 19.
The funeral service will be held at the Lighuis Church in Brakpan at 10:00 on Friday.