Clean-up under way after freak wave damages South Coast restaurant

Reports suggest 12 people were injured when tragedy struck Mariner’s Seafood Restaurant in Marina Bay, on Sunday.

Clean-up operations are under way at the Mariner’s Seafood Restaurant on the South Coast after a freak wave crashed into the restaurant, injuring 12 people on Sunday.

Preliminary reports indicate that at least one person was washed out to sea. The Witness yesterday reported that the restaurant was at full capacity at the time.

Twelve people sustained minor to severe injuries and five of them were then taken to hospital for further treatment.

A patron who took a viral video of the incident, Jason Livingston says he will be part of the team cleaning up after the ordeal.

Livingston explains the wave came as a shock and they were lucky that not many people were injured. However, there was damage to the restaurant.

“The wave was huge and we last experienced a similar spring tide in 2007/2008. As locals we see this kind of freak waves once every 10 years.”

Livingston says the restaurant owners are close friends and are saddened by the damage.

Storm surge

The South African Weather Service (Saws) said conducive weather conditions colliding with a spring tide event resulted in the storm surge effects over the past weekend.

“A combination of the high waves, spring tide, and conducive wind conditions resulted in positive storm surge with its effects experienced along the coast at various locations, as reported on various media platforms including social media.”

Saws said tides are long-period waves affected by the gravitational forces of the sun and the moon, and the earth’s rotation.

“The timing and peak of tides are, however, also influenced by factors like the wind and atmospheric pressure. Spring tide occurs approximately every two weeks during the new and full moon, causing high tides to be slightly higher than usual.

“Spring tides bring more water much further up onto the coast than normal, possibly resulting in chaotic coastal conditions such as coastal flooding and intensifying nearshore hazards such as rip currents.”

Storm surge is often widely confused with high waves. While they do frequently co-occur with waves, it should be noted that there is a distinction between the two phenomena.

Storm surge is calculated as the difference between the expected (astronomical) tide and the actual water level (including the effects of weather).

Strong onshore winds and waves can further increase water levels at the coast.

When these waves occur during high tide or spring tide, they can exacerbate the impact on the coastline.

“Therefore, storm surge can be severe and cause widespread impacts, but can also have little or no impacts when it coincides with a low tide

“Storm surge could result in impacts such as flooding of low-lying areas, being swept away from the beach, loss of life, modification of beaches, coastal inundation, estuary flooding, damage to infrastructure, and disruption to coastal activities.

“Thus, the public is advised to avoid beach recreational activities when alerted to such phenomenon,” Saws added.

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