The recent Voëklip tragedy where Heidi Scheepers and her two children, Hugo and Cozette, went over a cliff in their VW Caravelle, has to be the worst and biggest story I’ve had to work on since joining the George Herald.
It was a tragedy that shocked not only George, but the entire country.
On Wednesday morning 23 October, shortly after they found what looked like a vehicle at the bottom of a cliff in the Voëlklip area near Herold’s Bay, I went to the scene. There I stayed until 20:30 that night and returned at 06:30 the next morning (Thursday).
I did not leave the scene and I was the only journalist on scene during those two days. It was tough. Mentally and emotionally. Especially when they brought out little Hugo’s body on Thursday. For a couple of seconds everything just went quiet. The ocean was silent, the wind stilled... and even the birds stopped singing.
After that, everyone was hoping that Heidi and Cozette’s bodies would also be found near the wreckage. Unfortunately, we weren’t that lucky. The scene was cleared-up on Thursday evening 24 October at around midnight.
I went back to the scene early on Friday morning to find Heidi’s husband and a family member at the scene. They just stood there crying. I left.
Until today, there has been no trace of Cozette’s body.
Voëlklip gives me the heebie jeebies as it is. So it was an extra tough two days there. The Facebook warriors, Facebook trolls and Facebook investigators, didn’t make it any better; false information went out and it created absolute chaos. I still don’t understand how someone who wasn’t even near the scene could tell everyone what was happening on scene… and none of it was even true…
Yes, there are many questions, but WE are not here to judge or convict anyone. As hard as it is to accept what happened, we all just have to respect the grieving family.
I made the video below while I was sitting on the scene, just after they brought out little Hugo’s body.