Keenan Hendricks, 31, of Colorado Park was at the Wolfgat Nature Reserve on the False Bay Coast with friends when he spotted the teenage girl having difficulty in the water just after 4.30pm on Wednesday.
Keenan was the third son of Cecil Hendricks, owner of Cecil’s Long Distance Transport Services in Colorado Park, and was one of four children.
Keenan’s brother, who was visibly shaken and did not want to be named, spoke to the Daily Voice at the scene moments after the tragedy.
“He saw the girl in distress and he took his shirt off and he still had on his long pants and socks,” the brother says.
Shocked relatives broke down at the scene as Keenan’s body was removed from the water, while the girl and another man who tried to save her were transported to hospital.
The Daily Voice spoke to Keenan’s sister-in-law, who also asked not to be identified, and she says the family is at peace because he had given his life to save a child.
“He was with friends and they saw this girl, she had been playing and the wave swept her away,” she says.
“It was him and another man. His mother is at peace because he gave his life saving a child but it is very hard for the family. Keenan was not married and had no children.”
Law Enforcement’s Inspector Wayne Dyason explains what transpired: “On 9 January at about 4.30pm, a 13-year-old girl got into difficulty while playing in the shallows of the water and being drawn into deeper waters at the Wolfgat Nature Reserve on the False Bay coastline close to Khayelitsha.
“A 29-year-old male from Mitchells Plain bravely went to her rescue and also got into difficulty.
“Another bystander then also went in and he also got into difficulty. “
“The girl and one of the males managed to make it back to shore but he tragically drowned.
Lifeguards who arrived on scene administered CPR but it was sadly in vain.
“The girl and the male have been transported to hospital and are receiving treatment.”