Mitchells Plain man dies while heroically saving lives of three teens caught in a rip current, Strandfontein, Cape Town
A Mitchells Plain man died after he heroically came to the aid of three teenagers who got caught in a rip current at Mnandi Beach, False Bay on Sunday, 25 September 2022. The man, identified as 48-year-old, Reza Yon, had launched into the water to go to their aid armed with a body board. Arno Constance, NSRI Strandfontein deputy station commander, said, “At 14h45, NSRI Strandfontein duty crew were activated following reports of a drowning in progress near to Mnandi Beach, False Bay.”
“The NSRI Strandfontein sea rescue craft Rescue 16 Alpha was launched while NSRI rescue swimmers responded directly to the scene. Other water rescue services could not immediately be reached due to load shedding that had prevented digital communication”, said Constance.
He added, “On arrival on the scene the NSRI rescue craft rescued two teenagers who were located in the back breaker surf zone, they were using a body board for flotation. They were rescued onto the NSRI rescue craft. Both were hypothermic and in shock. While bringing the two teenagers to the shore they indicated that their friend, also a teenager, had managed to reach the shore, while an adult male had been in the water assisting them before they had lost sight of the adult male.”
“The NSRI rescue craft crew spotted the adult male in the mid break surf zone, he was recovered onto the sea rescue craft. He was found to be lifeless. They brought the casualties to the shore aboard the NSRI rescue craft where Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) efforts were commenced, by NSRI medics, on the adult male. By that stage the South African Police Services and WC Government Health EMS had been activated and they had arrived on the scene together with additional NSRI rescue crew. Paramedics continued with CPR on the 48 year old local man but sadly, after all efforts to resuscitate the man were exhausted, he was declared deceased”, said Constance.
“One of the three male local teenagers, two of whom are aged 13 and one of whom is aged 14, was treated by EMS paramedics for hypothermia and for shock before being released requiring no further medical assistance. The remaining two teenagers had departed the scene by private transport. Police and Government Health Forensic Pathology Services took the body of the deceased man into their care,” he added.
Police have opened an inquest docket.
“The 48 year old, Reza Yon, from Mitchell's Plein, after witnessing the teenagers caught in a rip current he had launched into the water to go to their aid armed with a body board. He reached the three teenagers in the water providing them with the body board to use as flotation before he got into difficulty.”
“Without doubt the flotation of the body board contributed to saving the three teenagers lives. Reza Yon is commended for saving the lives of the three teenagers. Condolences are conveyed to the family.”
Yon's daughter, Tara, lost her father on her 23rd birthday. But she believes he was "at that beach for the reason of saving those boys' lives". "All I can say is how immensely proud I am of my father. He was always trying to better himself and he was always positive and in a good mood. He would always check up on me to see if I'm okay and would always remind me of how much he loves me," she said, adding, “We're glad he was there to save them and I couldn't be more proud of him. He was an amazing man.”
Yon's 17-year-old son, Aadam, said his father loved the sea, a love he passed down to his son. "It's because of him that I decided I wanted to be a marine biologist and I'm studying very had towards that. He loved bodyboarding and surfing and would often teach others to swim, especially the small kids," he recalled. "If he wasn't working, he would go to the beach every single morning."
Aadam described his father as a kind man. "He loved helping others. He would never hesitate to help someone. That's why I admire him," he said. "He was my hero."
Source: National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), IOL