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WATCH: Man who saved cyclist with glove, tape and towel says he was just a concerned citizen

15 August, 03:41 PM

Iavan Pijoos

A man lauded for saving a cyclist's life says he is no hero, but "when someone is in trouble you help them". 

In an emotional interview with News24 on Tuesday morning, avid hiker Jon-Jon Pietersen describes how his "interesting" Saturday morning started. 

Pietersen - who is the head of lead generation at recruitment company Pnet - and a friend from his hiking club were on their way to look for new hiking spots. 

On their way to a third spot, Cradle Moon on Malibongwe Drive, they decided to take a different route. 

They took Kromdraai Road, where Pietersen wanted to show his friend a white tiger and a giraffe at an enclosure.

As they approached the first speed bump, "that's the moment my life changed", Pietersen says.

"I turned to my left. That is when I saw a man lying down. That was between the main road and the bushes."

They immediately stopped the car and got out.

READ: Groom risks life on wedding day to save drowning teen

"The first thing that went through my mind was it might be a trap, because people do this. I saw a man in a car behind us, so I thought at least there is another guy here, so he can jump in and help us."

The cyclist was bleeding from a bullet wound to his leg and had no shoes on.

Pietersen, who obtained his Level 3 First Aid training through his hiking club, started to help. 

"The first thing I told myself was I need to stop the bleeding. I put my foot on his wound, while waiting for a first aid kit, which no one had."

The man in the car behind them handed him two rubber gloves and gauze.

"As I put him in a recovery position, I noticed blood coming from his stomach. I moved his clothes and saw it was another hole."

Pietersen said he established it was an exit wound.

He rolled the rubber glove into a ball and "stuffed" it into the hole to stop the bleeding.

His main priority was to keep the man alive.

READ MORE: Brave six-year-old saves grandad’s life – by feeding him jelly babies!

An emotional Pietersen takes a deep breath and says: "I'm not going to lie guys, but I was scared in the beginning. I have never seen this kind of thing before, you hear about it and you see it in your training, but I just did what was needed to be done.

"Nothing about that was about me, it was about him and his family and ensuring that he was going to be okay. People think too much about themselves, but it's about the people in distress," he says.

He says the cyclist showed "incredible strength" to keep fighting until paramedics arrived 20 minutes later.

They took him to Letamo Wildlife Estate, from where he was airlifted to Milpark Hospital.

"I don't think people know what they are capable of until they are in a situation where they need to act," Pietersen says.

He received a message from the cyclist that evening that read: "Thank you for saving my life, I am able to hold my son again."

Pietersen says he hasn't slept well for the past three days, replaying the scene over and over again in his head. 

"I am a big chap that always needs to be tough, but I burst into tears this morning (Tuesday) and I can't explain why."

His mom has advised him to go for trauma counselling.

"I don't know what to do. I try and keep myself busy, but it is those moments when you don't have anything to do when it all comes back. It is overwhelming."

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