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Good Samaritan Scelo Cele, of Shelly Beach Tower Control, is commended for saving an adult man who was caught in rip currents yesterday at the boat launch slipway side of Shelly beach / on Tuesday, 7 May, during the morning.

Scelo, a former lifeguard at KZN South Coast Municipal Lifesaving and a former skipper at KZN Sharks Board, and his colleagues of the Shelly Beach Tower Control, were on duty (for boats that were coming and going at the slipway) when they heard shouts for help.

Looking out into the surf zone they saw an adult male, a local man, caught in rip currents and appearing to be in grave danger. He was being swept out to sea barely keeping his head above water.

Scelo grabbed a torpedo rescue buoy, that they keep in the control tower, and he rushed to the shoreline and leaped into the water – swimming after the man who was being swept out to sea. The casualty man appeared unable to get himself free out of the rip current.

Scelo used that same rip current to swiftly reach the casualty man - who had kept disappearing under water while Scelo swam towards him as quickly as possible.

Scelo admits that the man tried at first to grab a hold of him to use him as flotation, but Scelo’s years of experience as a lifeguard instinctively took over.

Scelo passed the man the rescue torpedo buoy while encouraging the man to tread water, and to use the torpedo buoy for flotation and to lie backwards to stay afloat - while Scelo secured the man and calmed him down.

Once the man realized that with the rescue torpedo buoy in his hands and he was floating this calmed the situation down immensely, said Scelo.

Colleagues had by that stage called NSRI Shelly Beach and Netcare 911 ambulance services – they were all responding.

Scelo started swimming the man away from the rip current (across the beach line) and then pulled him towards the shore.

Occasionally the man, fearing for his life, let go of the flotation rescue torpedo buoy but each time Scelo reassured him before finally swimming alongside the man (next to him) while the man held onto the flotation torpedo buoy.

On reaching the beach local boaters, public members, and Scelo’s colleagues, helped with the last few shallow meters to get the man safely ashore.

The local man was treated for non-fatal drowning symptoms by Netcare 911 paramedics and he was transported to hospital by a Netcare 911 ambulance in a stable condition where he is recovering.

Scelo, and the Shelly Beach Tower Control staff, and all who assisted, are commended for contributing to this man’s life being saved.

An NSRI pink rescue buoy just happened to have been positioned at that same beach on Monday, 6 May, on an NSRI pole – this NSRI pink rescue buoy was sponsored by Umthunzi Hotel and Conference group.

Although Scelo did not need to use that particular NSRI pink rescue buoy, because they have their own rescue torpedo buoy in their control tower, they all agreed that it was nice to know that there was an extra rescue torpedo buoy on hand if it had been needed.

Yesterday’s rescue was caught on camera by Scelo’s colleagues.

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