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Flood victim saved by 17-year-old guardian angel

This story of heroism emerged following the heavy rainfall and flooding in KZN on Monday, July 25, the drama unfolding under the La Lucia bridge on the M4.

“Within seconds, water gushed from both sides of the road and my car was fast submerging. I cannot swim and I am claustrophobic. All I could see was the dark, muddy water climbing up my wind-screen. I tried to open my car door but I could not open it. I tried to scream, but no one could hear me. My heart sunk, when I realised that I was trapped.”

Moments later Ballito librarian, Shakila Singh was rescued by a teenager who threw caution to the wind.

This story of heroism emerged following the heavy rainfall and flooding in KZN on Monday, July 25, the drama unfolding under the La Lucia bridge on the M4.

Singh, a mother of three, received a call from her daughter to pick her up from La Lucia on Monday afternoon.

Despite heavy rainfall, the dedicated mother set off, travelling on the M4 from La Mercy to La Lucia. Ten minutes into her journey, she realised she was losing control of her vehicle, the flooded roads becoming increasingly impassable.

Singh attempted to reverse before she got to the La Lucia bridge, but the water reached her car’s windscreen in a matter of seconds.

“My car stalled and the next minute this absolute torrent of water came down the banks. My car became buoyant in a matter of seconds. It was an horrific experience. When I close my eyes, I can still see the water. My car was floating back and forth. I tried to open the door to get out but it would not open. I phoned my brother-in law but I knew he would not be able to get to me on time. Thankfully I have electric windows. I opened the window on the drivers side, just enough for me to stick out my hand which I managed to do for a few seconds before the water started flowing into my car.”

Moments later her “guardian angel” 17-year-old Cameron White appeared outside the car.

“A young boy came to the car and said he was going to open the door. I just heard him yelling that when he opened the door, I would need to get out fast because the water would rush into the car. He pulled me out and his dad got me to safety on the side of the road, where by-standers attempted to comfort and warm me. The boy disappeared before I had a chance to thank him,” said Shakila.

After telling the story to her family, her sister Ashika Devnarain shared a post of her sister’s experience asking her for the person who saved Shakila’s life to come forward. The post received 16 000 shares on Facebook and within a few hours, Shakila found out that her saviour was Cameron White, a 17-year-old pupil from Clifton College in Umhlanga.

Cameron, who is training to be a lifeguard, has since received two awards – the heroism award at East Coast Radio and the drowning prevention appreciation award from SA Lifesaving.

Speaking to The North Coast Courier, the 17-year-old said that he did what needed to be done.

“At first I looked at the car and I thought that no one was in it. When I took a closer look, I saw a hand sticking out of the water. It would have taken too long for the emergency services to arrive, so I stripped down to my shorts and jumped into the water. I swam over to the car and from watching movies, I know that the water would have rushed in and so I told Shakila to get out of the car fast. I would have done it for anyone put in the same situation and I would not hesitate to do it again.”

Shakila and Cameron met for the first time on Thusday, July 28 at the East Coast Radio studio where Shakila thanked Cameron for saving her life.

“He will always be a part of my family and he will always be in my heart,” said Shakila.



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