Freak wave swept father and toddler into sea on family holiday

A father and his two-year-old daughter died during a family holiday when a freak wave swept them into the sea, an inquest has heard.

Rudy Bruynius, 33, and McKayla were fishing off rocks when the weather suddenly changed at Fistral beach in Newquay, Cornwall.

Mr Bruynius, his wife Lisinda and McKayla, who was strapped into her pushchair, were struck by the wave before another, bigger wave dragged them into the water.

Their two older children were able to climb to safety on rocks.

Cornwall Coroner's Court heard lifeguards on the beach pulled the couple out of the water and a lifeboat crew found McKayla.

Mrs Bruynius told the court her family, from Morden, south London, were on a camping holiday at the time.

"We were fishing off the rocks and within a short time the waves became bigger and started to splash us," she said in a statement read to the court.

"We were totally shocked and totally wet and focused upon McKayla.

"My two boys started to move further up the rocks we were on.

"Rudy, McKayla and I were in the process of moving up the rock when a large wave washed us off the rock.

"There had been no time to say anything to Rudy when a second large wave hit us and dragged us into the water.

"Rudy had managed to get McKayla from the buggy and she was in his arms.

"I could hear Rudy screaming for help and I could hear the boys screaming for help.

"I glanced across and could no longer see McKayla in Rudy's arms. Rudy appeared to be floating in an upright position with his head back.

"I swam over to Rudy but he was unconscious."

Mrs Bruynius added: "I remember the shock at how quickly the weather conditions changed that day and the tragic effect it has had upon our family."

Her husband, a landscape gardener originally from South Africa, died in hospital that night, on 19 August last year. McKayla died four days later.

Detective Constable Jarrod Yewen said: "I don't think anyone could have foreseen the weather conditions were going to change so quickly."

Conclusions of accidental death were recorded by Cornwall coroner Dr Emma Carlyon.

Mrs Bruynius said in a statement after the inquest that she and her sons had been "devastated" by the tragedy.

"Rudy was a loving husband and a loving father. He leaves a void that can never be filled.

"McKayla, our gorgeous and beautiful baby girl, is forever in our hearts and the pain that myself and the boys feel at losing them both is indescribable."

She thanked everyone who had tried to save their lives.