‘Worst day of our lives’: Grieving family shares heartbreak
A grieving stepmother has shared her anguish after "our boy" was swept away in a rip off a popular Sunshine Coast beach.
Tenika Wilson has given a heartbreaking account of the three long days Kyle Schroduer's family waited for news of his whereabouts.
The young Brisbane man, 21, was swimming near Stumers Creek about 4.30pm on March 28, when he was caught in a rip and suddenly disappeared.
An extensive land and air search was undertaken over three days involving the water police, coast guards and surf lifesavers.
Family and friends of the 21-year-old waited day after day for news until his body was found north of Coolum Beach - about 300m from where he was last seen.
Ms Wilson said the first day was the "worst days of our lives".
"I can vividly hear the detective voice when she told me 'we don't usually do this over the phone' -there was a long pause and my stomach sank," she said.
"Kyle was swept out in a rip at Coolum Beach on the Sunshine Coast at approximately 1600 hours, the officer explained and that emergency services were doing the best they can to find him.
"The usually short drive from our home in Morayfield took what felt like an eternity."
Ms Wilson said when they arrived they ran to the beach in the darkness praying it was some sick prank.
"We could see the flashing lights out off the coast but there was no one there on the shore," she said.
"Where was our boy? How could this be happening?
"We felt lost, in a unfamiliar place with our son missing. It was a long drive home."
Mr Schroduer's family drove back to the beach on day two before the sun was up to meet with Coolum Surf Life Saving staff on the beach.
Ms Wilson said hours came and went as the paid and voluntary staff worked tirelessly.
"The saying needle in a haystack was relevant, our boy was out there somewhere alone, cold," she said.
The grieving mother said the thoughts they were faced with were unimaginable but they refused to give up hope.
"Neither did the surf life saving staff, they were giving it their all they fought hard and (in) tough conditions," Ms Wilson said.
"They were tired and fatigued but with the amazing co-ordination from Graham and Riley, change over would occur and within a moment they're back at it."
The family said they couldn't thank the surf life saving troops enough as they provided shade, food and water and constant updates on the search.
"We wished there was something we could do to contribute, we sat and watched helplessly as they battled to bring our boy home," she said.
The Coolum community rallied together for the family with nearby sea-change Apartments providing the family with accommodation during the search and comfort when they needed it the most.
Again, daylight was lost and the search efforts were halted for the night.
Day three of the search, Tenika says was simply 'heartbreak' as the search team grew.
Water police, polair, coast guard, divers, jet ski riders and drones scoured the area along Coolum.
As the sun faded so to did the families hopes.
"Rapid movement on the water by the Police sonar boat sometime around 2pm caught our attention," she said.
"It was at that moment a Police car approached us and confirmed they found our boy.
"We have never felt pain like it, the heartbreak was debilitating."
"From that day forward we continue to grieve for the loss of our son, a Big Brother, a best friend," Ms Wilson said.
"Everyone who knew him were richer by being is his presence.
"He was a gentle selfless man, who would do anything to make you smile.
"He worked for charitable organisations where he would seek sponsorships and regular donations for Life Education, House with no Steps and Surf Life Savings Queensland."
Ms Wilson wanted to pay special tribute to the efforts of the Coolum Surf Life Saving staff.
"The efforts they made to bring our boy home were heroic," she said.
"They sacrificed their own time volunteering in the search and they fought hard surf conditions even putting themselves in the line of danger."
Mr Schroduer leaves behind his mum, dad, step parents, five sisters and two brothers.
He will be farewelled at the Great Northern Garden of Remembrance at Deception Bay at 12.30pm on Thursday.
Those in attendance are asked to wear bright clothes in remembrance of Mr Schroduer's bright personality.
The family intends to create a memorial at Coolum Beach where the incident happened with all additional funds to be donated to the Coolum Surf Life Saving Club.
Donations can be made to:
Account name: Kyle Dennis Schroduer
BSB: 063 097
Account number: 4240 1052