This is how the Cape Times reported Dr Robertson’s rescue of a father and toddler as the lead story on page 1 Monday 03 January 2011.
By Caryn Dolley and Staff writer:
A rescued toddler saved his father’s life at the weekend by desperately pointing him out to the Western Cape’s director of Emergency Medical services (EMS), who was holidaying with his family on a houseboat on Langebaan Lagoon.
Cleeve Robertson, EMS head and the National Sea Rescue Institute’s volunteer chief medical officer, spotted a screaming toddler slowly being blown away on a rubber tube between house boats.
After saving the boy they spotted his father clinging to a houseboat, and on the verge of slipping under the water, and rescued him.
“ It was close…another five minutes and (the man) would have drowned,” Robertson said yesterday from Langebaan.
He and his wife Charmaine were staying on the houseboat at Kraal Bay, on Langebaan lagoon, with their daughter Carrie and her boyfriend Kent Paulsen.
They were relaxing on New Years day when the dramatic rescue unfolded.
“ We were just sitting around when my wife heard screaming,” Robertson said.
They spotted a two-year-old boy clinging to a small orange blow-up tube which was slowly being blown away from them.
Robertson, with his wife, daughter and Paulsen, jumped onto their ski boat and rushed to the toddler.
“ One we got to him, we picked him up onto the boat. He was crying and pointing … He was clearly distressed. It was amazing, though, that he was more concerned about ( his father) than for himself.”
They tried to find out what he was pointing to and Paulsen spotted a hand clinging to the beam of a nearby houseboat.
They then realized that a man was clinging to the unused houseboat and was struggling to keep his face out of the water.
Robertson and his family rushed to the man.
“He was hanging on for his life. As we grabbed him, he passed out.We had to pull, almost drag, him onto the boat,” Robertson said.
The family took the toddler and the man, about 35, to the shore, where Robertson medically evaluated them.
after treatment the toddler and his father, who displayed symptoms of shock, exhaustion and near drowning, did not need further help.
Robertson said it was not clear what the two had been doing in the lagoon.
“We think maybe the toddler was being blown away and the man tried to swim up to him and get him, but got exhausted.”
Robertson had not managed to get their names.