As residents of Struisbaai in the Western Cape pondered the mystery of a VW Touareg buried in sand and water on their beach, it has emerged that the driver merely wanted to test his “4×4 capabilities”.

Police said hikers on the Struisbaai Plaat came across the vehicle buried in the sand. They then traced the vehicle and informed the driver’s parents.

The turbocharged direct injection (TDI) version of the vehicle can cost anywhere between R800 000 and R1m.

“The owner reported at Struisbaai SAPS, informing them that he had wanted to test the vehicle’s 4×4 capabilities on the Plaat.

“At the water’s edge, the vehicle’s electronic box got wet, causing the vehicle to seize. The owner abandoned the vehicle, and had to wait till day to arrange a tow. No foul play occurred and no cases were opened.”

Pictures and video of the vehicle emerged on social media on Wednesday.

Facebook user Ronelle Wessels said on her page on Wednesday: “Went for a walk this morning on the beach and saw this car in the sea. No one in sight!”

Her pictures show the vehicle buried almost up to its windows in beach sand, and surrounded by water.

Holiday accommodation and real estate company Southern Staying tweeted on Wednesday: “Breaking News: This guy landed in deep waters off Struisbaai Plaat Beach or was unhappy with his VW emission results.”

The joke was in reference to the recent controversy around VW and how some of its vehicles “cheated” emissions tests.

Local resident Johan van Zyl, told News sites that he saw the vehicle while walking down the beach on Wednesday.

“I heard that they used three 4x4s to pull it out.”

The mother of the driver is “die bliksem in” (furious) and his father feels sorry for him after a 22-year old man drove his expensive SUV into the ocean in Struisbaai.

Ernst Botha, the owner of the ill-fated Volkswagen Touareg, told News stations his parents “aren’t very proud of him”.

“I have to be held accountable for my own mistake,” Botha said.

“The clubs were still open [on Tuesday night] when my friend and I decided to go to the beach with my 4×4. Don’t ask why.”

It was low tide and the vehicle got stuck in the sand.

“We couldn’t call anyone. My phone got lost earlier that night and my friend’s phone was flat. We had to run some distance to get help.

“When we got back to the car it was already too late to get it… out of the water, because it was high tide and the vehicle was in the water. We had to wait for low tide.”

According to Botha, it was “a huge struggle” to get the vehicle out of the water.

“We made a few calls and got four [Toyota] Land Cruisers to help. Two winches and a few ropes later we managed to get the vehicle out. It was no easy task.”

Botha has some advice for people considering a festive drive on the beach: “Don’t drive your car on the beach. That is all.”

Botha said he has made an insurance claim, but hasn’t heard from the company yet.

“I still have no idea what the damages are. But they had to tow it away. Because of the large amount of electronics in the car, I believe it will be totalled.”

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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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