The family of the Ekpe brothers learnt too late that the Ibeno beach was dangerous for recreation.
Charles, a sibling to the deceased, expressed this in a conversation with Punch News. His attempt to get off dirt from his body proved to be a catalyst for a tragic event.
A sad chain of happenings was the opposite of what the brothers anticipated in a delayed family outing.
“We are 12 children in the family: six boys and six girls. While some of us are in Nigeria, others are outside the country. We go to the beach for picnic at least once every year.
“Ubong suggested that since we could not go during the Christmas and Easter celebrations, we should go last Saturday. We later agreed to go on Sunday. At least eight families were at the beach. We were over 30 in number.
“We got there around 3pm, ate and took pictures. After we finished eating, the men went to play football; the children went to play with water, while the women watched them.
“I fell on the sand and decided to clean up in the ocean. I was washing myself when all of them (the men) came to join me in the water. The water was at our waist level when our eldest brother asked us to come out.
“We moved out and the water was at our knees. Suddenly, something we cannot explain happened. The waves covered us, as the sand caved in. While three of us succeeded in coming out, Ubong and Francis couldn’t," a depressed Charles expressed in a chat with Punch.
Charles Ekpe has been resigned to wishful thinking while recounting a list of occurrences which ushered in the deaths of his siblings.
By the time he learnt about the dangerous nature of the Ibeno beach, it was too late.
The sand which they stood on had given room for a deadly water ambush.
“If we had any iota of doubt that the beach was not 100 per cent safe, we would not have gone there. Where we were was very sandy.
"When the waves came, they stopped at our knees. So, it was the safest place we could have stood. What happened was inexplicable: the ground caved in, a big wave came, covered us, and suddenly, the water covered our heads.
“I don’t believe in mystical powers. Maybe an oceanographer may have an explanation for what happened. But that beach is unsafe for any form of recreational activity.
"It was the following day that the village head told us that lives are lost at the beach regularly,” says Charles who is now regretting the passing of his brothers.