Local lauded a hero

2017-02-28 06:00
Warren Williams.

Warren Williams.

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Grassy Park has a hometown hero in Warren Williams who was one of six people who died trying to save a man from a sewer pit at a Durban naval base.

Alan de Cerff, CEO of Riodor Marine, says Williams was an accomplished fitter and turner for the specialised marine engineering company.

“He was at the Durban Naval base to carry out specialised maintenance work aboard the warrior class offshore patrol vessel the SAS Makhanda, work that was totally unrelated to the sewer pit,” he says.

“On the day of the tragic incident, Warren was on the deck of the boat which was berthed close to the building which houses the sewer pit when he heard the panicked screams coming from the front of the building. Being the sort of person that would always selflessly help others in need, Warren, along with other crew members, rushed to try and assist.

“He was part of a human chain formed to try and rescue a worker who had fallen into the 5m deep pit, but none of them could have known about the odourless, colourless and lethal gas which awaited them and he succumbed to the methane gas leak and died at the scene with the others.

His eldest brother Kevin says that the family is consoled in some ways knowing that he died while trying to save a life.

“I am going to miss him for his big smile and quirkiness with some long funny stories that only he could tell. I was always very proud of him. Since he was at school at Grassy Park High School, going on to study at False Bay College, he was always focussed on making a success of his life and he was living his dream through his work.

“He was an amazing role model to youth that he met, so I can understand him always mentoring other apprentices at his work. I can imagine him hearing that cry for help and responding without a thought for his own safety – that is just who he was and he will always be missed.”

More than 20 people were treated for gas inhalation at the incident and there will also be a full investigation by the Navy.

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