As he stood fishing at the water’s edge, Johan van Rooyen had no idea he about to become a hero.

The 42-year-old Start Up Operator at our Hillside Aluminium smelter had been enjoying a relaxing day on holiday at the beach when he saw three children playing in a dangerous stretch of water.

Suddenly, the youngsters were swept off their feet by a strong current and into deeper water.

After hearing their screams, Johan threw his fishing rod to the ground and ran to help.

Diving into the water, the father-of-two was quickly able to save a five-year-old girl before rushing back to save her 13-year old sibling.

But by the time he got back in the water to save the third child she had disappeared.

In limited visibility, Johan battled to find the girl and was eventually able to pull her to shore.

Using the advanced First Aid Training that he’d learned as Safety Representative at Hillside, Johan was able to give the child CPR and she regained consciousness before the emergency services arrived.

Reflecting on his actions, Johan said: “I was in the right place at the right time. I do not consider myself a hero at all - I just reacted immediately with the thought of getting the kids out.”

Johan van Rooyen web card
Johan van Rooyen said he was in the right place at the right time.