Drowning student saved in the surf by former lifeguard

09 September 2019 - 11:18 By TimesLIVE
A former lifeguard rescued a bather caught in a rip current on the Garden Route at the weekend. Stock photo.
A former lifeguard rescued a bather caught in a rip current on the Garden Route at the weekend. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/mihtiander

A 22-year-old man swept out to sea by a rip current along the Garden Route was saved from drowning after being rescued by a former lifeguard at Victoria Bay.

Volker Winterbach, 19, who was visiting the area from Still Bay with friends, saw the man  waving for help in the surf late on Saturday afternoon.

“He swam to the casualty, who was about 100m from shore and close to the rocks,” said National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Wilderness deputy station commander Mike Vonk.

“Volker, a former lifeguard at Hermanus, was able to use his lifeguard skills to swim the casualty back to shore, and he initiated emergency first aid on the beach.”

A provincial health EMS rescue technician and ambulance arrived on scene with NSRI medics to help the casualty, reportedly a university student.

“The casualty was stabilised and transported to hospital by EMS ambulance where he is in a stable condition but was  admitted to the intensive care unit for further monitoring for non-fatal drowning symptoms,” said Vonk.

The NSRI commended Winterbach for his quick response.


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