Humble hero saves girls from flood

2013-10-28 12:41
Despite losing his home and all his belongings, Thembinkosi Thusi (centre) has been hailed a hero after rescuing cousins Sifundo Sibiya and Siphelele Ntombela from raging floodwaters. (Rajesh Jantilal, The Witness)

Despite losing his home and all his belongings, Thembinkosi Thusi (centre) has been hailed a hero after rescuing cousins Sifundo Sibiya and Siphelele Ntombela from raging floodwaters. (Rajesh Jantilal, The Witness)

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Durban - A Durban man leapt out of a window as he desperately clung to his two neighbours who were being swept away by floodwaters in Luganda near Mariannhill over the weekend.

Thembinkosi Thusi, 42, has been hailed a hero after rescuing cousins Sifundo Sibiya, 11, and Siphelele Ntombela, 18.

Sifundo’s family had been preparing to celebrate her birthday just before 17:30 on Saturday when the area was battered by heavy rain.

Sifundo said everyone started running out when water started flooding their home.

“The force of the water pushed the fridge and other furniture in the house. My father told us to run outside and join other people who were running towards higher ground near the local cemetery.”

Swept away

She said everyone was together and then suddenly she and her cousin Siphelele were swept away towards the river as they shouted for help.

Thusi, who had already reached higher ground, saw what was happening and rushed back to the flooded area.

Sifundo said she and her cousin tried to escape the floodwaters but were helpless.

“We tried to get away but there was nothing to hold onto.

“I thought I was going to die but baba Thusi came for me,” she said.

Thusi had first grabbed Sibiya and hoisted her out of the water and placed her in a safe place before returning to rescue Ntombela.

The humble hero, who is unemployed, said he had noticed the girls being swept away.

“It was almost as if they were rolling in the water. I could not allow the children to die in my presence,” he said.

'It was like the movies'

Thusi said everything happened so fast. “It was like the movies and I have no idea where I got the strength to risk my life after running out of a flooding house,” he said.

Both girls sustained bruises and were helping relatives to mop up on Sunday.

Sifundo said although she had not even eaten had a slice of her birthday cake she was grateful to be alive. “Baba Thusi saved my life - if it was not for him, I would have been dead,” she said.

Mbuso Jali, a neighbour, said the heavy rain had taken people by surprise.

“I only started to realise that there was a problem when the water came up to my waist.

“That’s when I decided to follow everyone else and head for higher ground.”

He said Thusi had managed to grab the girls a few metres from the bridge.

He believes they would have been swept away had it not been for Thusi’s intervention.

“We have never seen rains like this in our area before.”

Read more on:    durban  |  weather  |  floods  |  good news

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