Dramatic Sea rescue

Isaac Chikosi

A restaurant manager risked his own life on Friday to save the life of a man who jumped off the Swakopmund jetty, ironically in an attempted suicide.

Gerhardus (Hardus) Saayman (28) is a manager at the Jetty Restaurant. He was alerted by a colleague that someone jumped off the jetty and was in serious trouble in the water.
Pictures and videos that emerged show the brave Hardus Saayman jumping into the sea, swimming to the drowning man. Saayman, who is an experienced surfer, got the man into a position in the water that enabled him (Saayman) to swim the man closer to the jetty. The sea was fairly rough and onlookers can be overheard on the videos cheering him to keep him motivated to battle the current and the extremely cold water.
In what can only be described as a gallant effort bystanders also took action to assist Saayman and the man who he was rescuing. People assisted by throwing a fire hose into the water to serve as a makeshift lifeline.

In the aftermath of the dramatic rescue Saayman said in an interview with Namib Times his initial idea to have them pulled by the current towards the jetty didn’t work. Waves crash against the jetty pillars with such force it could have crushed the two men in no time.
“We had to paddle it out in the water waiting for a rescue team to arrive”. With the makeshift lifeline secured around the man’s upper body, members of the Swakopmund Municipal fire and rescue services, Code Red Medical Services and sea rescue managed to pull both men ashore.
The drowning man was treated for hypothermia before being transported to Swakopmund state hospital for observation in the event of a secondary drowning.
As to the reason why the man jumped into the water, paramedic officials on the scene said they understood the man to be suffering from a mental illness.
Saayman was humble over his gallant rescue of the man but the fact that he saved this man’s life is a deed Namibians are deeply thankful for and immensely proud of.

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