Moment when hero gardener risks life to save terrified dog who has swept away from the overflowing dam in raging rapids
This is the incredible moment when a heroic gardener risks his life to rescue a terrified dog who has been swept from an overflowing dam to raging rapids in South Africa.
Scamp had tried to follow his owner over a watery causeway from one side of a filled dam to the other, but was dragged into the soaring rapids far below.
After spinning over and over in the bottom of the water, the pet miraculously clambered to safety on a rock in the wild stream.
Passerby James Stewart, 65, who was out with his wife Stella, 65, saw the drama and jumped into action by running back to his nearby home for a rope.
He called his neighbor’s gardener Amos Ndlovu, 35, who was mowing grass, and asked him to jump into the raging water to attempt a rescue.
Startle the dog in the photo heading for the rapids below (left) and spread his legs as he prepares to dive into the stream (right) in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Brave gardener Amos Ndlovu, 35, pictured after reaching the safety of a giant rock in the middle of the stream with the dog watching him frozen to a rock with fear
Without hesitation for a second, Amos volunteered and tied the rope around his waist while James held the other end and climbed down into the icy floodwater.
Stella recorded the poignant rescue attempt on her phone on Saturday in the Bell Park Dam above Champagne Valley in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
The five-minute nail-biting video features Amos bravely making his way step-by-step over the slippery rocks battered by the fast-moving landing.
When he finally reaches Scamp, the dog is frozen in place, but after a few soothing words from Amos, who has two dogs of his own, he gives him his confidence.
Amos takes Scamp in his arms and begins to retrace his steps through the deepening floodwaters that now begin to turn his lower legs completely numb.
Stella, whose house in Cathkin Park in the Drakensberg leads to the dam, said, “I know that dam well and I knew only once to slip and Amos would be dead.
“If he went over the edge in that stream had he not been killed in the 100-meter drop on the other side, he would have been trapped under a rock and drowned.
My heart was pounding in my mouth, but I continued recording anyway, and every second seemed like a minute as he carried the dog closer and closer to the safe shore.
The gardener gently moves towards the affected dog, Scamp, during his rescue. Passerby Stella recorded the poignant images on her phone on Saturday
Amos, who has a rope tied around his waist, grabs Scamp in his arms before retracing his steps through the deepening floodwaters.
Amos briefly sets Scamp on a safe ledge as he prepares to get to the side of the sheet pile where he can hand the dog over to James and pull himself out of the water
“I felt exhausted when Amos made the crossing and handed the dog over to my husband and then pulled himself safely out of the water too. The rescue took about 5 long minutes.
“He was the hero of the hour and deserves a medal for what he did.”
Stella revealed that the dog walker who owned Scamp had been ambushed by massive rainfall since New Year’s Day, causing the dam to burst for the first time in years.
She said: ‘The owner had four dogs and had decided to walk them one by one on the flooded dyke and had taken over the first and left three behind.
Amos (photo above) said, ‘I know if I had slipped it would have been the end for me, but I was determined to save this dog’s life’
However, the remaining dogs decided not to sit and followed their owner and two were washed over the side, but the larger one managed to scramble up again.
However, the smaller one just shot down like he was on a slide on his back and accelerated all the way until he hit the rapids at the bottom and then he just disappeared.
‘It was spun over and over and then it reappeared on a rock looking very scared and sorry of itself. Then my husband decided to try to save him.
“I am very proud of Amos and my James for saving that poor dog. They are cats that would have nine lives, but this lucky little guy certainly had luck on his side, ‘she said.
Hero gardener Amos, called by people on social media to be recognized with an award from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, downplayed his exploits.
He said: “I have two dogs myself and I know dogs well and could see from the way this one howled and barked that he just wanted to be rescued and needed some help.
Once he was safe in my arms, he trusted me and didn’t struggle, which made it easier, but I just focused on not losing my balance and overflowing in the floodwaters.
‘I know if I had slipped in the water it would have been the end for me, but I was determined to save this dog’s life and was confident that I could get us both to safety.
“But when I handed him over to James and got out and tried to pat him on the back, he just went and tried to bite me!”
Retired panel shop worker James added, ‘Amos was very brave and very humble and after returning the dog to his overly happy owner he just went back to work.’