Nice day for a wet wedding


Essential Member
Jan 26, 2009
Erie, PA
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THIS is the moment a beautiful bride and her guests got their feet wet when a wooden platform collapsed into a lake.

The wedding party had been posing for photographs when the floor gave way beneath them sending bride Marli van der Walt plunging into the freezing water.

A total of 80 guests were soaked including Marli's new husband Hoffman, 38, after they assembled at the South African beauty spot.

Among those in the water were Marli's elderly mother — who was sat in her electric wheelchair when the incident happened — her 88-year-old grandmother and a newborn baby.

The 34-year-old bride's nephew was the only person injured after his leg was pierced by a wooden splinter.

Hoffman's sister Alet said: "One minute we were all standing together waiting for the photograph to be taken and the next thing I knew I was underwater.

"It was pretty frightening at first - people tried to grab hold of each other for safety.

"Suddenly we were all in the water and it was just chaos."

Shocked witnesses dived into the lake to pluck them to safety near the Dragon Peaks hotel in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province.

The picturesque spot is in the middle of a dam and is accessed by a wooden walkway.

But Alet said it started creaking as soon as they got there.

She said: "They had wanted everyone on the decking because it was a lovely backdrop for the pictures, with the mountains behind.

"As we stood there was some joking about who was so big that they were making the deck creak, when the deck groaned again.

"The next moment the wooden struts decided they'd had enough and broke right behind where the bride and groom were standing."

Having reached dry land the bride refused to be put off and posed for photographs after her new sisters-in-law cleaned her muddied train with a fire hose.

They then sat down to their wedding dinner as planned — while hotel staff retrieved floating shoes, handbags and hats from the water.

Alet added: "Once we knew everyone was OK we found it all quite funny.

"Hoffman had to wring out his socks, and then he got the party started again.

"Some people were angry because their clothes were dirty and their cell phones or cameras had been broken but the bride and groom were determined not to let what had happened spoil their day so we just carried on like normal."

Hotel manager today Bithia Katz apologised to the bride and groom.

She said: "The deck was quite new, certainly no more than five years old.

"It was designed to take a significant weight but clearly it became overloaded.

"It was unfortunate that this happened to a wedding party but luckily nobody was seriously hurt.

"Afterwards they all carried on as normal and enjoyed themselves."

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