Man swept away by wave hours after asking girlfriend's family permission to marry her

A family holiday ended in tragedy after a young man was swept into the ocean by a freak wave, just hours after asking his girlfriend's family permission to marry her.

Despite not yet being engaged, high school sweethearts Athena Williams, 20, and Jonathan Brussow, 19 had already planned their wedding day.

The pair were on holidays in the Bahamas with Ms Williams' family when Mr Brussow went on a hike with his girlfriend's brother Eric up a tall cliff nearby, when the two men were swept into the water by a giant wave.

A family holiday ended in tragedy after Jonathan Brussow was swept into the ocean by a freak wave, just hours after asking his girlfriend's family permission to marry her. Source: Athena Williams / Facebook

Eric managed to grab hold of a rock and climb to shore, before he ran about 1.5km to get help, despite having broken ribs and cuts to his body.

The night before the tragedy, Mr Brussow had had asked Ms Williams' parents for their daughter's hand in marriage after she had gone to bed.

While he was out with his future brother-in-law, the young man also asked for his blessing, before being swept away.

“When we started dating he always told me, he said, ‘Since the first time I saw you, I knew I was gonna marry you'," Athena Williams told Fox17 online.

Despite not yet being engaged the high school sweethearts had already planned their wedding day. Source: Athena Williams / Facebook

“We had everything planned out already. He had our whole wedding planned out, too and we weren’t even engaged or anything.”

Mr Brussow's parents flew to the island to help the locals search for their son amid a tropical storm, and his body was found days later.

Mr Brussow went on a hike with his girlfriend's brother up a tall cliff, when the two men were swept into the water by a giant wave. Source: GoFundMe

Though her boyfriend is gone, Ms Williams says his memory will live on.

"I am 20 years old, I found the absolute love of my life, the one who was going to marry me some day. To have that love taken away from me so quickly has been heartbreaking," Ms Williams wrote on her Facebook page last Saturday.

The family is fundraising to install a safety barrier on the Glass Window Bridge, near where Mr Brussow entered the water. Source: Zachary W / TripAdvisor

"I truly know the meaning of 5 more minutes and to give anything to have him back.

"Jonathan was so full of life and adventure, so full of love. He lifted me up through stressful points in my life, he gave me the power to start creating life and seeing the beauty in absolutely everything,"

The grieving young woman and her family are raising money to support the local Bahamians to thank them for their help with the search.

Through a GoFundMe page, the family has already raised almost $20,000 which they say will be used to install a safety barrier on the Glass Window Bridge, near where Mr Brussow entered the water, as well as helping the hospital purchase some new equipment.