Swimmer praises rescue team for ‘miracle’


A man from Cape Town cannot remember anything about the intensive rescue effort and helicopter ride to save his life. All Bradley Armenville (23) knows is that he went swimming in the sea at Cape Town’s Glen Beach on January 2 and then woke up in hospital.

During the time he was unconscious, however, a team of emergency service workers, lifeguards and medics worked tirelessly to keep him alive after he was swept away by a sea current. On the day in question, Armenville went into the sea with another swimmer to help a younger person who ended up in an ocean current, when he and the other swimmer got into trouble themselves.

“Several teams, including lifeguards from the City of Cape Town, paramedics from the Western Cape emergency services and members of Netcare911, responded quickly to the emergency call,” says Ernest Marx, base manager of the Netcare N1 City and Netcare Blaauwberg hospitals.

“All three swimmers were able to be brought safely out of the water, but paramedics were particularly concerned about Bradley, who appeared to be on the verge of death,” says Marx.

Lifeguards performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on Bradley and later handed him over to paramedics, who administered further CPR and advanced life support.

“After a while he luckily started breathing on his own, but was not yet out of danger.” With no time to waste, an emergency medical helicopter was called to take Bradley to Groote Schuur Hospital.

“He was really in a serious condition and I told his father that day on the beach. However, Basil Armenville was convinced that his son would survive. ‘God is testing us,’ he said at the time.

“Against all expectations,” says Marx, “Bradley miraculously began to recover when he arrived at the hospital.”

Bradley and his family recently approached Marx with the request to meet him and the team responsible for his rescue in person. He wanted to thank them himself for saving his life.

Bradley met the rescue team at the Red Cross Air Mercy Services headquarters at Cape Town International Airport last Wednesday.

“He still spoke with difficulty after the horrible ordeal, but told us how grateful he was that so many people fought to keep him alive.”

Ernst says that after the trying festive season, the meeting was really gratifying for members of the emergency service team. “We are happy that he recovered so well and it means a lot to us that he reached out to us afterwards.”

He says Bradley’s story is also proof of what teamwork can accomplish.