Lo­cal saves girl in Cape surf

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - FRONT PAGE - Dave Sa­vides

SU­PERB fit­ness and in­stant re­ac­tion led to Richards Bay busi­ness­man Ken­neth Hodg­son be­ing hailed the hero of a dra­matic surf res­cue in the Cape.

The in­ci­dent took place late Sun­day af­ter­noon at Small Bay near Blou­bergstrand.

Ken­neth, well known in lo­cal surfing and triathlon cir­cles, had just left the wa­ter af­ter surfing with his son Mitchell, when they were alerted by cries from the beach.

‘Three young girls were be­ing washed out into the ocean and a num­ber of peo­ple set out to try and res­cue them,’ said Ken­neth.

‘One was slightly closer to shore and two were drift­ing fur­ther out.

‘I headed out on my board to the one who was the far­thest away.’

Be­ing trained, su­per fit and fast in the wa­ter, Ken­neth soon reached the teen, known only as Bianca, who by this time was al­ready float­ing face down in the wa­ter.

‘I pumped wa­ter from her lungs and she spewed it out then looked at me with wide eyes.

‘I man­aged to get her onto the surf­board and safely to the beach,’ said Ken­neth, who bruised his foot in the process of ex­it­ing the rocks.

‘All I can say is that it was a mir­a­cle of time and place.

‘See­ing that young girl’s face af­ter she came round made me re­alise how re­ward­ing it makes one feel to do good and help out oth­ers. All I can re­mem­ber is Bianca say­ing, with big eyes, ‘thank you’.’

Well known mo­ti­va­tional speaker Craig Metrowich, who had first heard the cries of the girls and ac­ti­vated the res­cue ef­fort, was un­stint­ing in his praise for the ac­tions of Ken­neth and the other two res­cuers – one of whom swam back to shore with a vic­tim cling­ing to his back.

All three teens have re­port­edly re­cov­ered fully from their near drown­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and the in­ci­dent has been con­veyed to the Brav­ery Awards Com­mit­tee of Life­sav­ing South Africa.

Dave Sa­vides

Pop­u­lar in lo­cal surfing and sport spon­sor­ship cir­cles, Ken­neth Hodg­son pulled off a dra­matic surf res­cue on Sun­day

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