Hero bartender jumped into water to save tourists swept by sudden wave

Hero bartender jumped into water to save tourists swept by sudden wave

  • Bartender Tongai Matandirotya was working at the Brass Bell Kalk Bay restaurant in South Africa when he saw a massive wave suddenly rush in and sweep away tourists into the sea.
  • He rushed in and dove into the water, and used his belt to pull people away from the current.
  • Tongai is now being hailed a hero for helping save many lives.

Those who live by the ocean know just how unpredictable the waters can be. Just this April, tourists were enjoying the view at the Brass Bell Kalk Bay restaurant in South Africa when they were suddenly swept into the water by a wave. Thankfully, a hero was already in their midst.

Hero bartender jumped into water to save tourists swept by sudden wave
Photo Credit: Brass Bell Kalk Bay

It was a beautiful afternoon with calm seas and blue skies. Tourists had finished their lunch at the restaurant and were enjoying the spectacular view while strolling along the water’s edge.

Suddenly, a “wall of water” rose up and swept them away to sea.

Photo Credit: Brass Bell Kalk Bay

The shocked victims struggled to get back to shore, since there was also a powerful riptide.

Thankfully, bartender Tongai Matandirotya was quick to act.

He recounted, “I saw this wave come over the harbor and it covered the people, dragging them into the ocean. I immediately ran outside, undressed myself, and dived into the water because I saw a child go in as well. I have a very soft spot for kids, and my instinct just kicked in to see if I could help.”

Tongai had the foresight to grab his belt from his pants, and used it to pull people from the water.

Hero bartender jumped into water to save tourists swept by sudden wave
Photo Credit: Tongai Matandirotya

One of the people Tongai saved was Clair Gardiner and her 8-year-old daughter, Arya van Hilten.

Clair said that they were looking at the seals on the coast when “a massive rogue wave knocked us into the harbor.”

“Some of the people weren’t able to swim. It was hectic. When you’re in the moment, it’s much more dramatic. All I remember was grabbing my kid when I knew we would go over into the sea. I wrapped my arms around her and managed to get us safely away from the heavy waves,” she continued.

When Arya started slipping away in the current, Clair yelled for help. It was then that Tongai and another tourist helped them. Tongai managed to grab Arya and take her to the shore. Clair followed closely behind them.

Clair and Arya recently returned to the restaurant to thank Tongai.

Photo Credit: Brass Bell Kalk Bay

“My daughter recognized him immediately, and we all embraced each other,” she shared. “We are so thankful to Tongai and the tourist man who risked their lives to save ours; we’ll forever be grateful to them.”

Thanks to the quick and heroic actions of Tongai and other volunteers, no lives were lost that day.

Tongai, who has worked at the restaurant as a bartender for the past 8 years, has been described as a “wonderful, loveable, fun human being.” Now, they can add “heroic” as another wonderful description of his character.

Source: Inspire More


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