Fireman saves woman at Howick Falls

2012-06-19 08:19
Fireman Ronnie Ndlovu rescues a woman who got stuck during an apparent suicide attempt at the Howick Falls in KwaZulu-Natal. (Beeld)

Fireman Ronnie Ndlovu rescues a woman who got stuck during an apparent suicide attempt at the Howick Falls in KwaZulu-Natal. (Beeld)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pietermaritzburg - An oath that fireman Ronnie Ndlovu once took to save lives drove him to the lip of Howick Falls on Monday to prevent a 27-year-old woman from plunging to her death.

Ndlovu rescued her when she had been stuck in the freezing water for almost an hour, after her jacket had been caught on a rock.

Only the top of her head was visible as the white water gushed over and around her, bystanders told The Witness.

Ndlovu, who arrived at the scene before noon, had to move fast and could not wait for the specialist police rescue team to arrive.

Rope


He tied a rope around his waist, and some of the policemen who were already there held on to the other end.

Then he edged his way through the raging rapids at the edge of the 95-metre drop.

“I then tied a rope around her waist because she could not let go of whatever she was holding on to,” he said.

When he finally managed to pull her out, the traumatised woman was gasping for air.

“We took an oath to save people’s lives,” Ndlovu told The Witness afterwards.

“Had I not gone in to rescue her, I would not have been able to live with myself, knowing that we could have saved her, but did not attempt anything because we were waiting for professional rescuers.”

The professional rescuers were at another incident in Durban.

“I still don’t know what prevented her from falling because the water pressure was very high and she held on to a rock,” he said.

Ndlovu said he only became afraid after the woman was saved. That’s when he had flashes of what could have happened if they had both plunged over the falls to their deaths.

Ndlovu, 39, grew up on Grootvlei Farm, near Howick, and worked as a minibus taxi driver before he became a fireman in 1998.

He said he had loved the idea of being a firefighter ever since he was a child.

“I am happy to be part of something that saves people’s lives because that is what I always wanted to do.”

Bravery


Other people also played their role in ensuring a life was saved on Monday.

Stan Goodenough of Friends of the Falls, which welcomes visitors and keeps the area clean, noticed the woman in the rapids.

He called Howick police commissioner Lieutenant Colonel Richard Nyide.

“He was on leave, but he arrived within minutes and started making calls for backup. After a brief moment police and firefighters arrived,” said Goodenough.

“It was amazing to see the bravery of a giant fighter who risked his life to save the woman,” he said of Ndlovu.

The woman, from kwaHasa near Howick, was admitted to Northdale Hospital.

Hospital spokesperson Mandisa Dlamini said the woman told staff she was saved by her jacket which got stuck on the rocks, giving her enough time to be rescued.

The woman’s mother told The Witness her daughter headed for the falls after the Howick Magistrate’s Court had advised her family to sort out a dispute among themselves.

“Thank God she managed to survive this,” her tearful mother said.

- Were you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  good news  |  search and rescue
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
26 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Cope: Zuma must listen to religious leaders

Cope has called on President Jacob Zuma to listen to religious leaders calling for him to come clean on the Nkandla saga.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Monday Sir Lowry's Pass - 13:45 PM
    Road name: N2 Westbound
    HEAVY TRAFFIC over Sir Lowrys Pass - expect delays
  • Monday Somerset West - 13:45 PM
    Road name: N2 Westbound
    EXPECT DELAYS due to high volumes
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Tab P7500 10.1" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 gives you a better experience for...

From R4999.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There may be a break through, either through quiet contemplative time to connect to your deep side or forced on you by...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.