- Matrick Sibusiso Mbhele is a freight company driver
- He trained to be a lifeguard after floods washed away his home when he was 10
- He recently rescued 16 people trapped in floods in Durban, South Africa
A South African man has been hailed as a hero after rescuing 16 people who were trapped in their cars during the recent floods in Durban.
A Facebook user named Nicole Alisha shared photos of Matrick Sibusiso Mbhele risking his life to wade in waist-high floodwaters to pull out trapped people.
Nicole wrote: “Before the police arrived, this man jumped out of his car, took his clothes off (in the freezing cold) to help an elderly lady – who was obviously stressing the f out – and helped her to safety."
In an interview, Mbhele said he decided to be a "friend of the water" when floods washed away his home when he was 10 years old. He trained as a lifeguard and volunteered for a while.
Although he now works as a freight company driver, he has never forgotten his training, which he put to heroic use during the floods.
After saving the elderly lady and two others, he saved 13 more people in a minibus. He said: “I started with the kids. They were crying. They were too big to pull out the windows, so I had to open a door.”
His employer, Martin Memela, praised him: “He was so brave to risk his life to save others. I hope everybody learns from these actions.”