Mother dives to save kids

2011-01-28 00:00

A UVONGO mother has expressed her dissatisfaction at the lifeguards at Uvongo beach after she was forced to dive into the ocean to rescue her six-year-old son and a friend of his who had been caught in a strong current and appeared in distress.

Janene Letcher says that she was at the beach last week Tuesday at around 10.30 am with her son and two friends of his — a boy and a girl.

“I always sit very close to the water so that I can keep an eye on the kids,” says Letcher. “The two boys got into some trouble and started getting swept away to the left in a strong current; they were very distressed.”

Letcher says she immediately looked around for a lifeguard.

“He [the lifeguard] was standing on the rocks and blowing his whistle telling the boys to move to the right, but they were caught in a current.

“He did nothing so I had no choice.”

It was at this point that Letcher, fully clothed, decided to jump into the water to swim after the struggling boys.

A man who was at the beach at the same time saw the events unfold.

“The lifeguards were there right in front of me when I saw the woman jump into the water,” said Tony Rood.

“I was about to jump into the water myself to help the little guys, but the mother panicked and went in.”

Letcher says what disappointed her most was the failure of the lifeguards to ensure that the children were okay after they were retrieved from the water.

“Nobody even came to see if the boys were okay. That would have made it better, but they didn’t even care.”

Letcher says she approached one of the lifeguards on duty with her concerns regarding the way the situation was handled, but was ignored.

Leon Garbade, operations director for Tower 13 lifeguards, acknowledged that the situation was regrettable.

“We can’t get to the bottom of what happened, but we had enough lifeguards on duty that do so there is no excuse for what happened; it is not the way that we conduct our business,” he said.

“I would like to apologise to the lady concerned [Letcher] and let her know that we are taking the necessary disciplinary steps to resolve the issue.”

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