The tragic final moments of a champion swimmer who died after diving head-first into underwater rocks at Bondi Beach have been revealed.
Married father-of-one Peter Michaelson, 57, had swum out to Flat Rock – 300 metres from the beach – when he dived back into the water, as he always did.
But this time he failed to resurface.
“Two mates jumped in, then a few seconds later they looked back and couldn’t see Peter,” Mr Michaelson’s friend Arik Shifroni told Yahoo News.
“Then a few seconds after that they saw Peter on the rocks, tumbling back and forth with the sway of the water.”
Bystanders tried to revive him and he was airlifted to St Vincent’s Hospital with severe head, neck and spinal injuries.
Mr Michaelson, who ran a jewellery store in Sydney’s Double Bay, could not be saved.
He leaves behind his wife Leeanne, who was in Perth at the time of the accident, and his 17-year-old daughter Siena.
Mr Michaelson was an accomplished swimmer and was regarded as a “master sprinter” at Maccabi Swimming Club. He was originally from South Africa but represented England at the Junior Commonwealth Games.
“He was very fit, very tall. For his age he was in great shape. He trained every day. He dedicated his life to swimming,” Mr Shifroni told the Daily Telegraph.
He said his friend had jumped from the rocks into the water hundreds of times without anything going wrong.
“We know exactly where to jump, Peter was very athletic, very strong and he knew exactly what to do. But you know, it’s the ocean. He may have miscalculated something, or he may have jumped the wrong way,” the devastated friend said.
Mr Michaelson, from Dover Heights, was remembered on a GoFundMe page as having “a heart of gold”.
“He loved celebrating life and loved celebrating everyone around him. He had the art of lighting up rooms and hearts everywhere he went,” a friend wrote.
“Peter was taken from us in the prime of his life, doing what he loved… swimming. But his greatest love was his wife Leeanne and daughter Siena.”
The fundraiser has gathered more than $50,000 in donations.
Story Credit: news.com.au