Man spends night in a tree dur

The Vaal river in flood near the area of origin near Breyten. Image: @ReenvalSA / Twitter

Man spends night in a tree during sweeping floods in Gauteng

Talk about the tree of life. A man’s kayak was capsized by floods in the Vaal River. He escaped death by holding on to a tree overnight.

Man spends night in a tree dur

The Vaal river in flood near the area of origin near Breyten. Image: @ReenvalSA / Twitter

A Johannesburg man escaped death from dangerous floods, thanks to his decision to grab on a tree overnight in the Vaal River on Monday. He was rescued on Tuesday by emergency personnel.


The 42-year-old man, who was a member of the South African Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, was on his kayak before it was suddenly swept away and capsized on the flooding Vaal River on Monday.

According to the National Sea Rescue Institute’s (NSRI) Vaal Dam station commander Jake Manten, the man was found on Tuesday after he was reported missing on Monday.

The near tragedy happened after he was on duty to rescue birds and their eggs from trees on the flooded Vaal River while on a kayak.

“The river, swollen from heavy rainfall, had four of the dam wall sluice gates opened at the time by the department of water and sanitation,” Manten said via TimesLIVE.

“Our NSRI rescue vehicle, towing our rescue runner rescue craft and with an NSRI Ark inflatable with swift water rescue gear, responded and were joined by a police dive unit, SA Police Service, ER24 ambulance services and Netcare 911 ambulance services.”


Soon after the man’s kayak was capsized in the river before he later held on to a tree overnight, his team members began a frantic search.

A police helicopter came to the scene to help find the missing man.

“During the night a search was suspended and was resumed at first light on Tuesday. A staging area was established on the river to assist with the search coordination. A police helicopter joined in the ongoing search,” Manten added.

“During the search the missing kayak was located wrapped around a tree and damaged.

“While an NSRI rescue craft searched that area along the river, the man was found huddled in a tree that he had climbed to escape the rapids after being swept away when his kayak capsized.”

Finally and on Tuesday morning, the man was rescued before he was airlifted on an NSRI craft. Manten said the man escaped the river flooding when he held on to a tree throughout the night.

“ER24 paramedics assisted with medical treatment for exhaustion and dehydration and following rehydration and further care he required no further assistance. NSRI commends all services involved in the successful search and rescue operation,” he concluded.