The luckiest man alive

2011-04-27 00:00

DESCRIBED as the “luckiest man alive” by his surgeon, Constable Dylan Grainger, the 26-year-old Hibberdene police officer gunned down in a hail of bullets less than a month ago, is back in his Ifafa home and recuperating well.

He looked remarkably fit as he and his wife Sue related his horrific experience to The Witness while their three year-old-daughter Jess played nearby and a magnificent view stretched down across waving green canefields to the azure ocean at Ifafa Beach, a few kilometres away.

Grainger was one of a group of officers accompanying a colleague while she went to her erstwhile home in Maposo residential area to remove her possessions following an ultimate breakdown in relations with her husband.

The husband, who has since died, was angered by the developing situation and attempted to prevent his wife and children getting into the car and leaving. Grainger and another colleague, a Constable Mbayi, intervened, unaware that the husband had a firearm.

As Grainger tackled the man in the street, to allow the wife to escape, he was hit by four 9 mm bullets fired at point-blank range — one in his arm, one into his shoulder, one into his stomach, causing damage to his liver, and one in the back.

Critically wounded, Grainger managed to draw his own weapon and he and Mbayi returned fire.

The man ran away and appeared, for the time being, to have escaped. Grainger was loaded into a Medivac ambulance and rushed to Port Shepstone’s Hibiscus Hospital. He remained conscious while his injuries were assessed and the treatment planned.

Meanwhile, the shooter arrived at and was admitted to Port Shepstone Regional Hospital with gunshot wounds in the legs.

According to Grainger’s wife Sue, three weeks of intensive care by an “outstanding team headed by surgeon Dr Rajcoomar and his staff saved his life, against all odds”.

“When they opened him up, there was blood everywhere from the ruptured liver and his blood pressure plunged from 140 to 80 in seconds as they cut him open,” she said.

Based on medical forecasts, Grainger is hopeful that his health will be effectively fully restored and that he can return to work within a few months.

His intention is to remain in the police although he may consider specialising in another area, such as forensics.

He is fully aware of how fortunate he is to have survived and the couple expressed their gratitude to Dr Rajcoomar and the Hibiscus Hospital staff, to the Medivac ambulance crew, to his many colleagues in the Hibberdene and Port Shepstone police, their local community, and to family and friends across the world for their support.

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