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Former lifesaver saves boy from near-drowning incident in uMhlanga

The young boy was playing in Grannie’s Pool when he was swept off his feet by a strong rip current.

THE quick reactions from an Umhlanga Rocks (Rox) Surf Lifesaving member have been praised after he saved a young boy from a near-drowning situation on uMhlanga Beach.

The young boy, believed to be between four and five years old, was playing in Grannie’s Pool when he was swept off his feet by a strong rip current.

The incident occurred on Saturday, November 11 at about 10:00, during high tide, when local resident Wayno Kerr saw the child in trouble.

“I was sitting on the beach just metres away from where the young boy and his sister were playing in the water. I had just gotten to my feet to go for a swim when I noticed the boy being dragged in and losing his footing. I think instinct just kicked in, and I took off my shirt and dived into the water. When I got to him, he was already about 60 metres away from the shoreline, struggling with the rip current. The biggest problem with a rip current is that it takes you under and keeps you there. I got to him just as he was pulled underwater.

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“Even I, as an experienced lifesaver, found it difficult bringing him back to shore, which shows you how strong the current was. I feel that if I’d reacted just five seconds later, we may have lost him. Thankfully, he didn’t need CPR and had only swallowed a little sea water. I don’t think his mom knew what to do – she was so shocked by what happened that she just froze. Thankfully, he was safely reunited, and he went back to playing on the beach with his sister a short while later. In the moment of jumping into the water, I didn’t think of my safety. I was just focused on saving his life,” he said.

The 40-year-old, a Northwood School Old Boy, spent two years as a professional lifeguard stationed at uMhlanga Beach.

“I think this also highlights the importance, not only of lifesaving, but also water safety. It is something you learn from a young age in lifesaving. I started lifesaving at the age of 16 and have been involved ever since,” he said.

 

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