Namibian risks his life to save man from drowning in icy sea

2019-05-28 12:53
Hardus attempting to keep the man afloat. (PHOTO: Supplied)

Hardus attempting to keep the man afloat. (PHOTO: Supplied)

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Hardus Saayman from Swakopmund, Namibia, had been working as usual in a local restaurant on Friday 24 May when he was alerted to a commotion outside.

He went to see what was going on – a man was in the icy, stormy ocean, struggling to keep his head above water.

“I ran outside, where I saw onlookers anxiously watching the man but no one seemed about to jump in to help him,” Hardus, the restaurant’s manager, tells YOU.

“So I took my jacket off and dove off the wharf,” he says. 

Bystanders told Hardus the man had said “God bless” before jumping into the ocean. But Hardus says the man never said a word to him about how or why he’d ended up in the ocean.

The freezing water made it all the more challenging to keep the man’s head above water, even though he’s a surfer and used to the cold, Hardus says.

Hardus attempting to keep the man afloat. (PHOTO:

“The man was wearing heavy clothing, which caused him to immediately start sinking. I had to keep his head above water.

“Conditions weren’t unusually stormy but your body can go into shock – the jump [from the wharf] is quite high.”

He had to keep the man afloat for longer than 20 minutes until rescuers arrived.

Both the man and Hardus were pulled from the water by a fireman’s rope. “He never said a word – I think he was in shock,” Hardus says. “Once we were out of the water, we were both taken to hospital.

“I really hope he’s doing well.”

Hardus attempting to keep the man afloat. (PHOTO:

Hardus was somewhat disappointed that he also suffered from hypothermia. “I’m used to the cold water . . . I couldn’t believe I got sick too.”

No, he says shyly, he’s no hero. “I’m just one more person who was able to do something helpful for someone else.”

Quinton Liebenberg, who owns the restaurant where the incident took place, says he and his staff have seen a number of attempted suicides at the wharf over the past few years.

“I’ve had to recover several people from the water in various incidents,” he says.

Read more on:    namibia  |  good news  |  hero
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