Umlazi Teens Rescued In River Operation


Police divers and an NSRI rescue swimmer risked their lives to rescue two teenagers who were stranded on an island after a river broke its banks in Umlazi late on Monday night.

The rescue was one of many conducted by the police search and rescue unit as torrential rains lashed Durban, causing flooding across the city.

The teens - a girl, 16, and a boy, 14 - were recovering in a Durban hospital after their ordeal.

NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon said that rescue technicians arrived at the river to find water levels steadily rising, and that the pair was in grave danger.

"A floatation rope was attempted to be thrown to them but debris in the strong flood kept washing the rope away and NSRI's Paul Bevis and police search and rescue's Jacobus van der Merwe donned wet suits," Lambinon said.

"Paul managed to swim to the island from further up river, using the currents to reach the island, and he found that the pair had managed to reach floating debris in the main water channel but they were found to be in grave danger," he added.

In a rescue effort that spanned more than two hours, Bevis and Van der Merwe dragged the two teens across the raging torrent.

Bevis lost his grip on the girl a number of times and had to pull her from under water each time.

The two were treated at the scene by paramedics.

"Both were transported to hospital by ambulance suffering exhaustion, hypothermia and displaying signs of near drowning symptoms, and both were in stable conditions and they are expected to fully recover," Lambinon added.

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