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Brave fisherman rescues swimmer caught in rip

The young teenager didn't think twice to risk his own life to save that of another.

Quick-thinking Port Shepstone High learner, Liam Gallagher (17) saved the life of a bather recently.

Liam has been fishing since he was seven years old and now volunteers at Shelly Beach National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI).

He didn’t think twice before jumping into shark-infested water to save a man who had been swept out to sea.

Liam, together with seasoned fisherman Brian Lange, had been fishing on boat Niteshift early that morning, and were returning to the Mzimkhulu river mouth at around 13:00.

Liam was at the helm and had negotiated the boat through the mouth.

“Once on the river, we stopped to talk to crew of another boat when suddenly two young men ran up to ask for help as one of their friends had got caught in the rip in the sea,” explained Brian.

Brian said they relaunched and found the man caught in the rip currents adjacent to the river mouth, in what is locally known as ‘shark alley’ because of the number of Zambezi sharks commonly caught there.

Liam said the ocean swell was continuous and dangerous. Liam grabbed two lifejackets and when Brian got the boat as close as possible to the man, he jumped in.

“The man disappeared under water but I managed to grab him and put the lifejacket on him and swim him back to shore,” said Liam.

“Liam towed the man to the beach with no regard for his own safety. I commend this young man for his bravery. NSRI can be very proud of him as a member,” said Brian.

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