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Constable receives Bravery Award for rescuing drowned youth

Apr 10, 2017
Constable receives Bravery Award for rescuing drowned youth

SAPS Flying Squad & Dive Unit member, Constable Siyabulela Cakwebe, 29, received a Bravery Award – A Letter of Commendation, on Thursday last week after responding to a drowning in progress, alerted at 18:45 on Friday, 25th November 2016.

Constable Cakwebe and his partner were the first to arrive on scene at Wells Estate Beach, on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth.

The two ran to the end of the pier, where bystanders pointed out a youngster in the turbulent surf, behind the backline waves. Assessing the dangerous situation, Constable Cakwebe immediately stripped and radioed in the details, before leaving his gear with his partner.

He then swam out in the fading light through the rough and turbulent surf, alone, and without any rescue gear, and located the 15 year-old youth, who was battling to stay afloat behind the large backline waves.

After locating him, Constable Cakwebe then secured the youth and battled through the rip currents to get back to the beach, where he handed the youth over to Medics who arrived at the scene.

The youth, who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol, was assessed and required no further medical attention.

Were it not for the quick and brave actions of Constable Cakwebe, the rescued youth would have perished in the turbulent seas.

A Letter of Commendation was awarded to Constable Cakwebe for unhesitatingly going to the aid of the stricken youth and returning him to safety after some 15 minutes of valiant effort, saving him from an almost certain drowning.

Bystanders then at the same time shouted that another youth was still missing, and Constable Cakwebe rushed back into the surf and swam out again, in search of the missing person.

Two rescuers from Coastal Water Rescue adjoined the search and swam out in the dusk to find the missing person.

They located the drowned youth about 200m offshore and the Bluewater Bay SLC IRB crew, who also arrived on the scene, brought the body ashore where medics declared the youth dead at the scene.

Constable Cakwebe’s actions are in keeping with the high ideals of rescue and service, which Lifesaving South Africa endeavours to promote and practice.

Image: Constable Siyabulela Cakwebe getting commended and receiving the Bravery Award.