The friend of a mother of two who drowned at a popular Queensland surf spot has shared more details of how the horror accident unfolded.
Sonya Sullivan, 51, drowned after she was swept into rough seas on the ragged coastline of Snapper Rocks, near Coolangatta, on April 30.
Close friend Kristy Clancy has revealed that the family had not been swimming at the popular Froggy Beach but had fallen off rocks into the water.
“It is with a heavy heart that we have come to lose a wonderful soul from this earth,” she said of the beloved mother in a post shared to the community fundraising platform GoFundMe.
She said Ms Sullivan had slipped on some rocks and fell into the ocean before getting caught in a rip.
Sonya Sullivan drowned at Froggy Beach. Picture: GoFundMe
She was “dragged and smashed back into the rocks” before her teen daughter Tara jumped into the water to try to save her.
Her son Bailey raced back to the shore to get help from a crowd of people who had been celebrating a gender reveal party on the sand.
A man from the party swam out into the surf and was able to save, Tara but it was already too late for her mother.
“We all appreciate and respect the persons at a nearby party who bravely jumped into the dangerous waters to save Sonya‘s young daughter,” Ms Clancy said.
Lifesavers pulled Sonya to shore and despite resuscitation efforts, she died at the scene.
She fell off the rocks and was caught in a rip. Picture: NineHer teenage daughter with special needs jumped into the water to save her. Picture: Nine
“Their valiant efforts were unsuccessful in saving our dear Sonya, (but) we love and appreciate the fact they were so brave and wonderful heroes that traumatising day,” Ms Clancy said.
The two children, who both have special needs, are now living with their grandmother and are being cared for with the help of their two uncles.
Almost $8000 has been raised on GoFundMe over the last five days to help support the family with the financial costs of transitioning the kids into their new home, funeral costs for Sonya and the children’s medical expenses.
Snapper Rocks is known for rough surf. Picture: Nine
The family’s loved ones are hoping to raise $50,000 to support them as they expand the family home or face potentially having to sell and buy a bigger home.
“We understand that not everyone can afford to pay towards these unprecedented, unexpected and unfortunate series of events that have transpired in front of Sonya‘s teen children over the weekend,” Ms Clancy wrote.
“Even if you cannot financially support the cause please share this so we can help ensure the devastated children can have a safe stable environment to function as well as they can.”
The children have moved in with their elderly grandmother. Picture: Nine
The popular surf spot, about 30km south of the Gold Coast, is known for its fast but sometimes unpredictable waves and is popular among surfers.
World class competitive surfers and amateur hobbyists alike are known to flock to the location.
Snapper Rocks will play host to the World Surfing League Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro competition in May.
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