Man hailed a 'hero' after saving 3 teens from drowning at the cost of his life

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Reza Yon.
Reza Yon.
  • A Cape Town man lost his life while saving three teens from drowning.
  • He entered the surf at Mnandi Beach and offered them his bodyboard as a flotation device.
  • The 48-year-old has since been hailed a hero for his selfless act.

A Cape Town man has been hailed a hero after he lost his life while saving three children from drowning at Mnandi Beach in False Bay.

Reza Yon, a 48-year-old from Mitchells Plain, saved the children who became caught in a rip current on Sunday.

Armed with a bodyboard, he launched into the water, according to National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Strandfontein deputy station commander Arno Constance.

"He reached the three teenagers in the water, providing them with the bodyboard to use as flotation before he got into difficulty. Without doubt, the flotation of the body board contributed to saving the three teenagers' lives," Constance said.

The NSRI Strandfontein duty crew was activated and headed to the beach. Other water rescue services could not be reached due to load shedding.

"On arrival on the scene, the NSRI rescue craft rescued two teenagers who were located in the backbreaker surf zone. They were using a body board for flotation. They were rescued onto the NSRI rescue craft. Both were hypothermic and in shock," Constance said.

"While bringing the two teenagers to the shore they indicated that their friend, also a teenager, had managed to reach the shore while an adult male had been in the water assisting them, before they lost sight of the adult male."

The rescue team spotted Yon in the midbreak surf zone, but when they reached him he was lifeless.

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He was brought to shore and the crew attempted to revive him. However, he was declared dead after all efforts to resuscitate him were exhausted.

Paramedics cleared the three teens on the scene and allowed them to go home.

Yon's daughter, Tara, lost her father on her 23rd birthday. But she believes he was "at that beach for the reason of saving those boys' lives".

"All I can say is how immensely proud I am of my father. He was always trying to better himself and he was always positive and in a good mood. He would always check up on me to see if I'm okay and would always remind me of how much he loves me," she said, adding:

We're glad he was there to save them and I couldn't be more proud of him. He was an amazing man.

Yon's 17-year-old son, Aadam, said his father loved the sea – a love he passed down to his son.

"It's because of him that I decided I wanted to be a marine biologist, and I'm studying very had towards that. He loved bodyboarding and surfing, and would often teach others to swim, especially the small kids," he recalled.

"If he wasn't working, he would go to the beach every single morning."

Aadam described his father as a kind man.

"He loved helping others. He would never hesitate to help someone. That's why I admire him," he said.

"He was my hero."


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