Last weekend a man went swimming at Clifton 4th Beach, Cape Town, and was found unresponsive from hyphaemia in a rip current. After being saved by friends, the group said they will be donating R50 000 worth of pink buoys to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI).
After the incident, Mardus Strydom spoke to News24 and admitted that at one point he was “unsure” whether he was going to make it out alive. At that point, his limbs had started to give in as he tried swimming back to shore.
“I had no clue I was that deep into the water and for that long. A group of swimmers and I decided to go for a cold-water swim just before 6 am. We started chatting while in the ocean, only to realise we actually swam till behind the backline,” said Strydom.
Just before he was saved, he has blacked out as the waves came crashing down.
“I froze. At that moment, you didn’t really think clearly as you are in a state of shock. The waves were crashing against each other, and I was completely out. I blanked out for a few minutes till help came,” he added.
No lifeguards were on duty
Two of Strydom’s friends who were in the water with him – Sarah Oberholzer and Johnathan Smuts – noticed that he stopped responding to them.
And when Oberholzer swam over she saw that he was unresponsive and immediately lifted her hands to call for help. But unfortunately, no lifeguards were on duty yet.
According to NSRI drowning prevention manager, Andrew Ingram, the lifeguards only reports for duty at 10:00, and Strydom and his friends went swimming around 06:00.
Luckily, Struan Jamieson had just finished his morning swim when he noticed the commotion in the ocean. He and his friend, Jason Fialkov, immediately ran to grab a pink buoy to assist Strydom.
“I was in disbelief when I was brought to shore, and everyone… in the water told me what had happened. I felt quite embarrassed as I didn’t expect my morning at the beach to end in my near death. I am so eternally grateful to everyone… involved in saving my life,” Strydom said.
Cape Town man donates to NSRI and wants to learn basic lifeguard skills
Ever since the incident, Strydom and his friends said they would be donating pink buoys to the NSRI for eh amazing work they do at sea.
“A few companies and friends agreed to match my donation of five pink buoys each,” he added.
The NSRI responded and called it “fantastic news”.
“Mardus and the five people who helped him in the ocean have all asked for some basic survival-rescue training. Our NSRI lifeguard coordinator and training office, together with NSRI Bakoven rescue swimmers, have put together a short course on how to use emergency flotation in various conditions,” said Ingram.
Strydom feels that he got “a second chance” so he won’t waste it.
“I’ve been given a second chance at life. The ocean is powerful. I’m making it my mission to learn the basics of life-saving,” said Strydom.