Bravery claims two lives

2010-04-03 00:00

TWO men drowned yesterday at Warner Beach while saving the life of a young boy who was swept out to sea by a strong current.

One of the victims was identified by police as a Warner Beach resident, John van Staden (40). From the window of his house he saw the boy get into difficulty and rushed to his aid, said police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mndunge.

“He managed to pull the boy out, but was himself overcome by the water,” he said. He said Van Staden’s wife was at the scene of the tragedy.

Mndunge said the other drowning victim is thought to be the father of the boy.

Police have identified the man, who was 45 years old, but by last night had not established his address or made contact with his next of kin, Mndunge said.

“We would not like to publish his name until his family has been informed,” he said. “We are not certain if they were there on holiday,”

He said that by the time police got to the scene, the boy had been taken to hospital.

Netcare 911 spokesman Jeff Wicks said paramedics managed to revive the boy at the scene. He was reported to be in a serious but stable condition at Kingsway Hospital.

Both Netcare 911 and ER24 paramedics who were in the area when they heard about the drowning tried to help lifeguards from Warner Beach to revive the stricken victims, but were unable to save the two men.

Mndunge said that according to the police report, the boy was swimming in a non-demarcated area that was not protected by lifeguards.

The lifeguards were alerted by other beachgoers and raced to help.

Craig Lambinon of the National Sea Rescue Institute said the NSRI was not involved in the rescue.

However, according to reports he received, the water conditions were “quite rough” with strong rip currents creating a “washing- machine effect”.

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