South African Firefighter Joins Florida's Elite Fire Rescue Dive Team!
Photo Cred: National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI Worldwide)

Samantha Botha has been selected to join the Orange County Elite Fire Rescue Dive Team… one of the few women applicants.


Orange County, USA (03 April 2022) – Originally from Ficksburg in the Free State, Samantha Botha is making waves in Florida, USA, after being selected as one of Orange County Fire Rescue’s newest dive team members.

At just 27 years old, Botha is now one of only seven female divers certified in dive rescue for Orange County Fire Rescue.

“I’m excited really and proud,” Botha said, slightly out of breath. “I don’t even have words.”

The department certified four divers Tuesday and will certify 13 more by the end of the week to add to the 175 person dive team spread out across various Orange County fire stations.

South African Firefighter Joins Florida's Elite Fire Rescue Dive Team!
Photo Cred: WFTV

“It takes a special kind of person. These people are usually very highly motivated. They want to go that extra mile, and those are the kind of people we’re looking for,” said Lt. Brandon Allen.

Botha said she got her work ethic from her father, who is an underwater commercial diver.

“So when he became a diver, I got interested in it,” Botha said. “And I got in this field, and I found out they had a program. I was like, ‘Why not?’ And I get to help people with it. Both my parents were police officers in South Africa, so they’ve instilled my love of helping people.”

But the South African understands the responsibilities that come with rescue diving.

“Here, it’s not just looking and seeing what’s pretty; you have to find something, something very important,” Botha said about the difference between recreational diving and diving to rescue. “You’re trying to save lives quickly.”

And quickly means that Botha might start work as early as next week!

“Some of these newly certified divers are on shift tomorrow, so they could be operating as that solo diver as early as tomorrow,” Allen said.

Good luck Samantha, wishing you only good things in your new role!

South African Firefighter Joins Florida's Elite Fire Rescue Dive Team!
Photo Cred: WFTV

Sources: WFTV9 | ABC 
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