Boy receives hero award

2019-06-04 06:00
Samuel Warren received a hero award after trying to save the life of a man in Bloubergstrand.

Samuel Warren received a hero award after trying to save the life of a man in Bloubergstrand.

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Western Province Surf Lifesaving awarded one of its highest honours to a 15-year-old Sea Point boy Samuel Warren recently.

Samuel was given the Western Province Surf Lifesaving Hero award for his bravery when he tried to save the life of a man who had drowned at Little Bay beach last year.

Samuel was on holiday at his family home in Bloubergstrand when a man almost drowned on Little Bay beach. Although only 14 at the time, he reacted instinctively and started performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

This happened only a month after he had completed his lifesaving training. He was just about to sit down to have lunch when he was told that a person on the beach had been pulled from waist-deep water. “I knew that I had to do whatever I could to help. Luckily, I had my kit-pack with me,” he said.

When he realised that two others had dragged the man onto the beach, he informed them that he was a lifeguard and took control of the scene.

“The man was not breathing, had a weak pulse and was vomiting. This meant that his airway had to be cleared between breaths and compression,” Samuel said.

The young man did his duties against unfavourable weather, as the tide pushing onto the beach was high enough to wash him against the man, who had to be shielded from further danger.

“It was really intense, and I just reacted instinctively. There was nobody there. After about an hour of CPR, I knew that chances of the patient surviving were slim to non-existent,” he recalled.

Two senior lifeguards joined him, and later paramedics came to the scene. The man sadly did not survive and that made the young hero very sad. “I was very frustrated and sad for his family. It is difficult to know exactly what I felt,” he said.

After the incident, the Big Bay Lifesaving Club took Samuel for a debriefing session to help him process what had happened and he was also offered trauma counselling for the ordeal. The captain and senior members from his home club, Clifton Surf Lifesaving Club, have also given him support during the time since the incident.

When the award was given to him, Warren said he felt an undeserving feeling. “Many lifeguards actually saved people over the season, they are the ones who deserve recognition,” he said.

He advised everyone to sign up for basic first aid or for a lifesaving course, in order to be equipped to deal with such situations, which can happen at any moment.

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