Resident risks his life to save fisherman

Henco van Rooyen (34) from Schoemansville, a maintenance manager at an estate on the shore of the Hartbeespoort Dam, struggled through over two metre deep water under the hyacinth to reach the distressed fisherman.
“I was alerted by a resident who heard screaming from the dam around 08:30. When I reached the shore, a fisherman told me his mate was in the dam. By then it was quiet and I feared the worst. But then we heard a scream again and I rushed into the water. I couldn’t see him as his head was underneath the plants. The hyacinth was so thick and compact that I had to break it apart to get through. I told the man to keep communicating so I could determine where he was,” Henco, a father of two, told the Kormorant.
Approximately 25 m into the dam, when he finally saw the man, Henco could not stand anymore and had to swim, at the same time breaking apart hyacinth to get through.
“He was clinging to a piece of polystyrene as big as an ice cream container and when he saw me, he grabbed me. He was panicking and ice cold and both our heads were under the plants. I don’t know how, but I managed to drag him to where my toes touched ground again. Going back to shore was even worse than getting to him. I had him clinging to one arm while I had to make a path through the hyacinth with the other. We had to stop for a while so I could get my breath.”
Back on shore the fishermen said they had caught too many fish and the boat sank. “While we were struggling to get out, he wanted me to save their boat. I told him in that case we were both going to drown.”
Henco said he never thought for a moment of his own safety.
“When I heard the scream, I just plunged into the water. I don’t know how I did it. I ran the 50 km Om-die-Dam race on Saturday and my muscles were extremely sore. I guess it was good exercise for stiff muscles,” he laughed.

  AUTHOR
Kormorant

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