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Bay man risked life to save boys from sea
10 January 2012

Lynn Williams [email protected]

LOCAL HERO: Noel Sefier rescued two boys Picture: SAM MAJELA
A NELSON Mandela Bay man broke down in tears yesterday as he recalled how he nearly lost his life while heroically saving two young boys from drowning.

Noel Sefier, 45, instinctively ran into the ocean at the Maitlands resort near Port Elizabeth on Saturday evening when he noticed that three young boys were in trouble.

His heroic deed nearly cost him his life because he got into trouble and had to battle the raging surf for 20 minutes.

Paramedics took Sefier to the Greenacres Hospital, where he was admitted to intensive care with secondary drowning symptoms.

Sefier had gone to Maitlands with his brother, Lucian, and Lucian’s children on Saturday. They arrived around 3pm. He first noticed the boys (between 12 and 16 years old) through his binoculars. Because he had done basic lifeguard training at high school, he remarked that he thought the boys were swimming a bit too far out considering the strong cross-currents.

The drama unfolded shortly after 5pm when the lifeguards ended their shift. “We were about to leave when I realised these boys were in deep trouble. They were floating away. I don’t know what came over me, I just ran into the ocean.”

Sefier swam towards the boys who were nearest to him. When he managed to grab hold of the first boy, he swam him to safety and immediately rushed back into the water to rescue the second one.

When he went back in for the third boy, a fisherman on the nearby rocks signalled that he would go in to save the child as he was closer.

Sefier ran into trouble trying to swim ashore. “The current was just so strong. I panicked when I realised I could not get out. I was exhausted, but I also realised I had to keep my wits about me if I wanted to make it out alive. I struggled to get out for more than 20 minutes.

“When I felt like giving up, I kept seeing glimpses of my brother on the shore. I thought I was going to die. The waves were higher than the roof of this house,” a tearful Sefier said, pointing to his ceiling.

The next thing he remembers is making it closer and closer to the shore, and his brother and an onlooker eventually pulling him to safety. “I cannot begin to describe the relief when I felt my brother grab hold of me.”

For reasons unknown, the boys he rescued ran away.

Paramedics treated Sefier and took him to the hospital.

“I am very worried about those boys. I keep wondering whether they got medical attention after the incident. I would like to get in touch with them and the fisherman. Everything in life has a purpose. I suppose I just had to be there at that specific time. I am not a hero,” said Sefier.

Secondary drowning is a condition where water, or other fluids, has entered the lungs, but the person may be conscious and not fully aware of what has occurred. The general warning signs for secondary drowning include coughing, trouble breathing, pain in the lungs or chest, especially when taking a deep breath, and a feeling of swallowing or inhaling water.


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alcan [11 January 2012 3:56]
Well done Noel Sefier! Give that man a ‘Bells’!
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Your Views

VernE 13 January 2012 6:36 pm

And that’s just the consultation fees alone! So what do we have to show for all that’s been pumped into this project? Might as well have used those notes for landfill….

dokhotelo 13 January 2012 2:33 pm

…..Where is the local ANCYL branch?….Is there any money to be made out of whatever for them???…………

The Struggle 13 January 2012 2:06 pm

Where is the ANCYL Nelson Mandela Region? The youth needs to be empowered and your silence is deafening….

alcan 13 January 2012 4:42 am

Well said Wayward! The whole setup is a disaster,and now in Summer when energy consumption should be at it`s lowest the circus wants savings,what`s Winter going to be like! Any way who are the biggest…

Wayward 12 January 2012 11:13 pm

What Eskom needs is a 50% increase in maintenance, productivity and common sense. And a 50% decrease in the fat cats’ salaries. And a good smack round the ears….

alcan 11 January 2012 3:56 am

Well done Noel Sefier! Give that man a ‘Bells’!…

vim 9 January 2012 3:23 pm

I agree with Keith, Letters to the Editor 09Jan re near drowning. I am not a medic and fortunately have not had to resuscitate a small child, but have always considered my first response would be to …

Karen 9 January 2012 11:10 am

Well done to Science Mann …

Sagebrush 8 January 2012 4:47 pm

Well done. Now I hope you all get jobs in 2012….

Science Mann 7 January 2012 7:49 am

I agree with Muis. The best batsmen in the world often had nothing. Bradman practiced by himself using a stump and a golf ball, Brian Lara played for hours in his mum’s driveway, Viv Richards played o…