Image: Andreassen, Olav Johan, Stormnatten, olje på lerret.jpg
How did a perfectly normal and peaceful Sunday afternoon at the beach turn into a near tragedy beyond comprehension.
The family had come for the day, a trip from the country taking them several hours meaning they had begun early and with the excitement of the ocean, the waves, the warmth and the opportunity to forget the troubles at home with crop failures and a never ending drought, they looked forward to this day of escape.
The children delighted in the ocean waves, played and splashed in the shore break. The father had decided to venture further out and they all watched in amazement as he swam strongly through the swell and made it out beyond the break.
Then he was gone. At first they thought he had dived under and was swimming underwater. When he didn’t surface they called to their mother who busy with the baby had not been watching. She ran to their side and stood with them wishing for him to reappear and take away their anxiety.
She called for help, ran back and forward to the life guards getting the children to describe where he was last seen. Quickly life guards were in the water and out to where the father had disappeared.
Within seconds they had him and rolling him over on his back began the long swim back to the shore. The family felt it was an eternity and ran into the water to see if their father was alive.
They lay him on the sand and CPR was begun. Suddenly he was rolled on his side, coughed up a lung full of water and was back with them.
Around him his wife cried, the children were numb with the experience not knowing what feelings to exhibit.
On the sand the father breathed again.