A FATHER, the 33-year-old Paul Lawrence, gave his own life to save his nine-year-old son from drowning in the sea while horrified residents of the Mile 4 residential area of Swakopmund looked on.
People on the beach rushed into the water after the father and son got into trouble while playing in the waves. The man and his boy were caught unawares by a strong current near the beach.
According to one of the first responders that attended the scene, other people on the beach rushed into the water and used a boogie board to get the nine-year-old child to the safety of dry land.
Some of the onlookers said the father used all his strength to keep the little boy above water but that he soon disappeared under the waves.
Another resident of Mile 4, who heard the commotion on the beach, went to investigate and found people already assisting the little boy.
When he heard that the father was still in the water, he rushed back home to fetch his surfboard and after a quick search in the waves, found the father floating face down close to where he disappeared.
According to another bystander members of the Swakopmund emergency services and an ambulance arrived on the scene in the meantime.
When the surfer brought the unconscious man to the safety of the beach, paramedics attempted to resuscitate him. Their efforts were however, to no avail and Lawrence was declared dead on the scene.
The little boy was stabilised on the scene and was taken to the Cottage Hospital in Swakopmund where he was admitted for observation to prevent him from suffering a condition known as secondary drowning.