While their parents stretched out on the beach, Rebecca, thirteen, Kelly,
eleven, and Jason, nine, were busy frolicking at the water's edge. It was quite
early in the morning and the sea was quiet except for a red and white boat named
Sniper that was making several trips across the water. As he began to doze off,
Richard saw Rebecca and Kelly heading into the water. The girls were strong
swimmers, and he was not worried for their safety.
About half an hour later,
Richard was rudely awakened by Jason's frantic screams. The Sniper had smashed
into his sisters. Pointing at the sea, Jason was hysterical.
Slightly disoriented, Richard jumped up to see his wife running towards the
water. She too was screaming and hearing their cries, several passers-by had
also begun to run towards the beach. Reaching the sea, Richard scrambled in and
began to swim towards his daughters, but it was a crew member from the Sniper
who reached them first. He managed to pull them onto the boat and bring them to
Not being able to see the full extent of their injuries, Richard and Cecilia
were initially glad to see their daughters safe on solid ground. When the
rescuer put the girls down, however, Cecilia turned to her husband in horror.
Rebecca was white with shock, making short gasps. Her right arm was missing from
her elbow down. All that was left was a huge ugly mass of matted flesh and bone.
Kelly was unconscious and her foot had been sheared off above the ankle. Cecilia
felt her weak pulse and grimaced.
As the ambulance rushed the girls to the hospital, bystanders who had
gathered at the site of the horrible tragedy set to work. Connecting a prawning
net to two small boats, they dragged the net back and forth across the water but
with no luck. Then, a few searchers waded out into the sea and lined up shoulder
to shoulder. They walked forward covering the accident area until the water was
shoulder deep. Time was running out and they knew that if they did not find the
body parts fast, it would be too late. Within a short while, someone held up
Kelly's foot. A few metres away, Rebecca's arm was recovered. Packed in ice,
they were immediately rushed to the hospital.
At the hospital, surgeons worked feverishly for eight hours to save the
girls. Rebecca got through the surgery well and although it took four months for
her to feel anything in her right arm, she was eventually able to regain normal
use of her arm. Kelly, however, was not so lucky. A few hours after attaching
her foot, she developed an infection and doctors had to amputate part of her
leg. After recovery, she was fitted with an artificial limb instead.
Despite the tragic outcome, however, the Gomez family remains upbeat and
considers themselves lucky. Being alive is all that matters. Both girls treasure
life much more now and they continue to enjoy an active lifestyle like they used