Severe Heroic 13-Year-Old Rescues Dad - Despite His Own Severe Injuries!
Photo Cred: NSRI

A brave 13-year-old with severe injuries pushed through his pain to save his father; the father and son had been hiking when they were washed off rocks and into the rough ocean.


Plettenberg Bay, South Africa (17 August 2022) – At around 3 pm on Saturday, the 13th of August, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) in Plettenberg Bay were alerted that a father and son were seriously injured on the Robberg Nature Reserve hiking trail.

“Our NSRI duty crew responded to our NSRI Plettenberg Bay rescue station where the sea rescue craft The Courtenay’s Rescuer was launched. Our NSRI rescue vehicle responded. Additional NSRI crew responded in their private vehicles. Med-Life ambulance services, WC Government Health EMS, and the EMS/AMS Skymed rescue helicopter were activated, and they responded. Cape Nature rangers were also requested to respond.”

The family who had found themselves in a dire situation were from Knysna, on holiday at the Fountain Shack, Robberg Nature Reserve. On their second evening in the reserve, the father (48 years old) and son (13 years old) were swept off a rock by waves. They were washed over rocks into a tidal pool during the incoming Spring high tide.

“It appears that they were both rendered unconscious in the incident after being struck against rocks during their fall. The son regained consciousness finding himself in the water and seriously injured. He noticed his father unconscious in the water near to him. With waves breaching the tidal pool, the son, despite his serious injuries, managed to rescue his father from the water bringing him into shallow water amongst the rocks.”

The father regained consciousness but was in a serious condition and unable to help himself.

Despite serious injuries, the son ran the 50 meters up a hiking trail (and stairs) to where they were staying to alert his mom and his younger sister, who were unaware of the incident.

The mom went with her son to help her husband and immediately raised the alarm calling NSRI using the phone number she found on the nearby emergency board. Somehow, while waiting for help, they got the dad higher up on the rocks, out of the water, and initiated first aid.

Both the son and the father had sustained serious injuries, but luckily, other hikers passing by stopped to assist.

“We believe this included a group of Italian tourists who were assisting on the scene and one of them was in communications with our NSRI Plettenberg Bay duty controller on a cellphone.

The daughter had a flashlight which she used to signal other hikers on the beach. We believe that people who had been on the beach had seen and reacted to those signals, and had come over to help them.”

The NSRI rescue craft arrived on the scene first and initiated medical treatment. The sea rescue craft remained off-shore after dropping off the NSRI rescue crew in shallow surf. They were joined on the scene by additional NSRI crew, WC Government Health EMS paramedics and Med-Life paramedics who had hiked to the scene from the parking area.

The father was secured into a “Stokes Basket Stretcher”, and he was carried up to where they were staying.

The EMS/AMS Skymed rescue helicopter arrived on the scene, and a hoist was deployed with additional paramedics to assist in medical treatment.

“In relays, the father and the son were airlifted by Skymed to the parking area where additional medical treatment was rendered before both were transported to hospital in ambulances in serious but stable conditions. The mom and the daughter hiked to the parking area with the local and Italian hikers who were assisting them. These hikers had also taken a large portion of the family’s belongings with them. They are commended for their assistance.”

The father and son have since both undergone surgery in the hospital and are expected to make full recoveries.

The family has respectfully requested privacy at this difficult time while they are healing, but the NSRI have commended the entire family – especially the young son – for their bravery. They also thank all emergency services involved are commended for the swift response, and the hikers and tourists who helped are commended for their efforts.

Sources: NSRI
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Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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