Searching for heroes

2015-05-05 06:00
Caroline van der Heever and her daughter Kayla are grateful to the two men who rescued them at Llandudno beach.


Caroline van der Heever and her daughter Kayla are grateful to the two men who rescued them at Llandudno beach. PHOTO: supplied

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After narrowly avoiding drowning at Llandudno beach, Caroline van der Heever is searching for the men who rescued her and her daughter Kayla.

Caroline visited the beach with a friend on Tuesday 31 March, spending the day catching up while their children played soccer and jumped in the waves.

“We had just decided to pack up and go when the two girls wanted one last jump,” Caroline says.

“I folded the chairs and then turned to call the girls and realised they were out too far. I screamed at my friend and ran fully dressed into the waves,” she says.

Caroline’s eight-year-old daughter was in trouble, and as she struggled to reach her she felt the seabed drop away under her.

“She was screaming ‘Mum, help’ and I shouted that she should swim to me,” she says.

Caroline was able to grab her daughter’s arm and they tried to swim together, but each wave pushed them further out to sea.

It was then that Caroline spotted two men wading into the sea. Realising they were her salvation, she pushed Kayla towards them as an incoming wave caught her.

“The two men managed to grab and catch her. As they pulled her towards the shore, I was shattered and being pulled back out to sea,” she says.

Not a strong swimmer after having learnt to swim late in life, Caroline thought her only hope was to reach the two men.

“I realised if I could get to them they could help me,” she says. “I really thought that I was going to drown, so I quickly decided to lie on my back and kick towards shore.

“I kicked until I literally had nothing left, all the while looking over my shoulder and listening to the encouragement from the two men.”

When she managed to reach shallower sand where she could stand, the two men waded out to grab her and help her walk against the rip tide to shore.

Once safely on the beach, Caroline was assisted to a lifeguard hut and her rescuers melted into the crowd.

She has now launched a social media search to find the men, so that she can “hug them and say thank you”.

“I also want to say sorry as I know I undoubtedly put their lives at risk and the look on their distraught faces as they saw me struggling is something I won’t forget,” she says.

“I need to see them smile and meet my daughter who wouldn’t have made it without them.

“I appreciate they may not want people to know what they did, but I need to thank them for our lives,” she says.V

Anyone with information about these two men can email Caroline at

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