Tragic end in search for missing ‘hero’ father

The body of a man who went missing after saving children stuck in a rip at a South Australian beach has been found.

Taxis are being used to transport those in need of medical attention in South Australia.

The unusual mode of transportation is being used to tackle ambulance response times in the state.

Ambulance ramping managed to hit a record 4,285 hours in November 2023.

The taxis have now been used to transport thousands of patients.

In a statement to the Advertiser, SAAS explained the discernment between an ambulance or taxi was based on the urgency of each situation and contracted taxi providers are under strict patient safety requirements.

Dan Cojocea, 43, was swimming with family and friends at Mary Ellis Beach, south-west of Port Lincoln, on Friday afternoon when he got caught in a rip.

Six others, including four children, were also caught in the rip but were able to get to shore with the help of Mr Cojocea and emergency services. 

The four children were taken to a local hospital for treatment and are understood to have no life-threatening injuries. 

Dan Cojocea was holidaying with his family and friends when he got caught in a rip at Mary Ellis Beach. Picture Supplied

Following an extensive search over the weekend to find the father-of-four, South Australia Police confirmed on Monday they had found the man’s body on a nearby beach.

“Sadly, just before 8:30am Monday 22 January, the missing man was located deceased on a beach nearby,” SA Police wrote in a statement on Monday. 

“There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death and police are preparing a report for the coroner.

“Police would like to thank all persons who assisted in the search.” 

Superintendent Paul Bahr addressed the media in relation to the search over the weekend before police confirmed on Monday morning man’s body had been found. Picture Robert Lang

Mr Cojocea was reportedly camping at Mary Ellis Beach with his wife, their four children and another family.

Close friend Riaan Grobler spoke to the 7 News Adelaide about the devastating ordeal, saying he and Mr Cojocea were “more like brothers than friends”. 

“Somehow Dan got the kids out…he just kept encouraging them to keep swimming,” he told the network. 

“He’s my hero, he saved my daughter, he saved his two kids. It was a very selfless act.” 

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