A lifeguard at Strand indoor swimming pool went the extra mile to save the life of a swimmer on the nearby beach who nearly died from drowning during the festive season.

Cameron Vannithing was on duty at the pool when he heard cries for help from the nearby beach, and rushed to the aid of the swimmer.

The City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services, Zahid Badroodien, commends Vannithing’s efforts to save the victim.

“This young man didn’t think twice abut going into the water to pull out the victim who had already drowned,” he says.

Vannithing performed CPR on the victim and continued to keep giving them chest compressions all the way to the hospital with the paramedics.

Due to his efforts and quick thinking, doctors were able to successfully find a pulse on the victim.

“There is no doubt that without his quick actions there would have been an addition to the number of fatal beach drownings,” Badroodien says.

The City of Cape Town/ Cameron Vannithing

The dedication of lifeguards to ensure the safety of all swimmers at the 19 open municipal pools meant there were no fatal drownings during the festive period, although lifeguards attended to more than 300 help-outs and assisted in non-fatal drownings.

Badroodien says that the public pool facilities will remain open until the end of this month.

“The City’s public swimming pools attracted thousands of visitors over the school holidays who were eager to cool off and relax. We only opened 19 of the 35 facilities in our commitment to continued water saving practices and they will remain open until the end of January. A few of our pools have their own water resources and this has bolstered our efforts to save our precious water supply,” he says.

The City of Cape Town/ City pools

The City has reported several incidents that took place at the municipal pools that required the intervention of law enforcement units.

Reportedly, patrons refused to leave the Langa swimming pool at closing time, threatening law enforcement, staff and lifeguards.

“‘There are still a few weeks left before pools close and I want to encourage residents to make use of the facilities responsibly. If you’re unsure of the rules, speak to our lifeguards and also inform them if you’re not confident in the water,” Badroodien says.

The City has provided a few tips for staying safe at the local pools: 

1. All children under the age of seven must be accompanied by an adult at all times

2. No alcohol or banned substances are allowed in the vicinity of the pool area

3. No glass containers or weapons of any kind are allowed

4. No running, dunking or diving off shoulders is allowed.

5. Do no swim near or under the diving boards.

6. If you are in trouble, get to the edge of the pool and remain calm and raise your hand to get attention. It is advised that you do not tug or pull on anyone as you may pull them down with you.

7. If a swimmer is in trouble, do not get in the water to rescue them but alert a lifeguard to the situation.

Locals are reminded that once a swimming pool has reached full capacity, no more patrons will be allowed to swim in it.

“This is in the interest of safety and takes into account the size of the facility and the number lifeguards on duty.”

Picture: The City of Cape Town

Article written by

Ishani Chetty

Ishani is a vegetarian who is passionate about social issues, the environment and current affairs.