I couldn’t go back
Last Thursday he was with his brother and little nephew on the beach, at Wijk aan Zee. It was very hot, so Leon wanted to cool down. “I can manage well in the water, but I am not a very good swimmer,” he tells RTL Nieuws. “So I went into the water up to my waist, and then I wanted to go back to the beach.”
But that was no longer possible: Leon was pulled further and further into the sea, suddenly he was up to his chest in the water, he no longer saw his towel, his brother and nephew disappeared from sight, the water was already up to his neck, the bottom disappeared under his feet and he could no longer see the coast.
A deadly weekend
It was dangerous in the sea this weekend. The cause: mice. A 15-year-old boy drowned in Monster and a 37-year-old man in the sea near Juliandorp.
The rescue brigade rescued at least 42 people from the sea this weekend from a life-threatening situation. These people would otherwise have died or sustained permanent injuries.
Like a sardine between the waves
“You don’t know what will happen to you. It’s so bizarre. I just thought: I have to go back, I have to go back, what is this? The waves just kept coming over me, I was sitting like a sardine between the one wave and the other in. I called for help, I called and called, but no one heard me through the wind and the roar of that sea. There was no one around me, only water. ”
Occasionally Leon stumbles over his words on the phone; his sentences sometimes tumble over each other. “I’m really still in a bit of a shock,” he says. “Every time I close my eyes, I see that sea in front of me.”
Golf on golf
“You can compare it with the flow of a whitewater course in the pool, but ten times more powerful. You simply cannot swim against it. In just a few minutes your body is pulled along. As if you were a doll.”
But it wasn’t just that movement, Leon says. It was also the waves. Every few seconds, a flood of water poured over him. Every time he caught sea water. Another wave, another wave, more water, even more water.
What is a mouse?
Twice a month, the sun and moon are on the same side of the earth. This ensures that maximum attraction is exerted on the seas. And for the greatest displacement during ebb and flow. The high water at high tide is at its highest and the low water at low tide is at its lowest. When these tides alternate, a lot of water is displaced.
When the tide comes in, the water flows back to the open sea. All that water searches for the fastest way back to the open sea. In the sandbanks off the coast, channels are formed that are perpendicular to the coast. The channel in which the water flows back to the open sea with enormous force is a mouse. That moment was there again last week.
In our country there are dozens of mice off the coast. A mouse can be up to 200 meters long.
‘I was so tired’
Leon is silent on the phone for a moment. Then he says, “I’ve never been so scared. I felt everything: I’m drowning. I’m just drowning here.”
“I was so tired. I was so tired. Then I was overcome by such a feeling: I’m dying here and nobody knows I fought like this. That’s very lonely.”
Pussy, not saved anyway
Until he saw something moving in the corner of his eye. A surfer who came to him paddling. For a moment Leon thought he had been saved. But the surfer also got into the current and could not reach him.
Leon smiles scornfully. “Then I thought: cunt. Still not saved.”
He hoisted Leon onto his surfboard. “I felt so much discharge, and so much relief. I’m still alive, I’m still alive.”
“I want to thank them”
However, the light went out for a while at Leon, while he was lying there on that board. He didn’t wake up again until he got to the beach. The surfer asked Leon if he could walk. He could do that. Shortly afterwards, Leon’s savior walked back into the sea with his board.
“He let me know a little bit that I was not the first one he rescued from the sea that day. It shows how violent and dangerous those mice are.”
He would therefore also like to thank the surfers once again personally, ‘from the bottom’ of his heart. “I hope they read this. It’s much more than ‘just saving someone’. I never got out of that sea on my own. Never.”