White boy saves drowing man while black lifeguards look on

The girlfriend of a man who suffered a near drowning at Bloemfontein’s Maselspoort Resort yesterday says if it wasn’t for a heroic matric at the scene, her boyfriend would be dead.

The woman, who has requested to remain anonymous, says her boyfriend hit his head while riding the supertube at the resort. She says the black lifeguard on duty failed to respond rapidly when her boyfriend had difficulties in the pool at the end of the slide and adds when he did react, he was unable to locate the victim.

She says a white matric boy, Branden Terblanche, 18, saved the day by finding her boyfriend and retrieving him from the water. Bystanders with emergency response training then assisted while a different lifeguard provided respiratory aid until paramedics arrived.

Bloemfontein resident Terblanche, who wrote matric last year, says he does not know the victim but reacted immediately to the woman’s shouts. He was on his way up to the top of the slide but rushed down to pull the unconscious man from the pool.

The woman says her boyfriend is in a serious but stable condition in the High Care Unit at Pelonomi Hospital.

She says the near drowning has left his lungs flooded with moisture which puts him at risk of suffering what is known as a dry drowning. He is being monitored and is expected to remain in hospital for the next two to three days.