GEORGE NEWS - A former German police officer put his own life at risk to save a man from drowning at Wilderness beach shortly after five last Thursday, 11 February.
This was not the first time Bjoern von Bismarck saved swimmers from the Wilderness beach. In February last year, he and his wife saved a man from drowning and in March they assisted local surfers to rescue an Australian man.
"While responding to the scene a German lady contacted us and told us that her husband had gone into the water with a bodyboard to assist a man that they saw being swept out to sea in rip currents," said Johan Scholtz, NSRI Wilderness Station 23 deputy station commander.
According to Julie von Bismarck she was out on their deck that afternoon when she saw the man in trouble in the water.
"The swell was huge that day and there was a very strong rip current. No one should have been swimming there. I saw the man in the water, but he was not moving a lot and kept going under water with each wave. He was clearly in trouble. I called my husband who grabbed his bodyboard without hesitation and ran into the ocean, swam right into the rip and reached the man about 100m off-shore," she recalled.
Von Bismarck is a very experienced swimmer who had undergone water rescue training.
Scholtz said Julie gave them minute-by-minute feedback as her husband helped the man onto his bodyboard and started swimming to shore.
"From sheer exhaustion, the casualty was unable to hold onto the board and he kept slipping off the board," said Scholtz. "Von Bismarck had to keep hauling him back onto the board. After some time swimming through the heavy surf conditions they reached the shore and safety."
When emergency services arrived on the scene the man had already been brought to safety.
Paramedics treated him for exhaustion and non-fatal drowning symptoms and released him as he required no further assistance.
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