OUR DEEPEST CONDOLENCES TO CAROL VAN STADEN THE FAMILY AND FRIENDS – NO WORDS CAN EXPRESS OUR SORROW
“He lost his life helping someone else, and that’s exactly the type of person he was.” – Johann du Plooy – a friend
April 04. 2010
This article was originally published on page 3 of Tribune on April 04, 2010
By Matthew Savides
He has protected the lives of Hansie Cronje and Steffi Graf, but Raymond van Staden was on Saturday hailed as a hero for giving his life to save a 10-year-old boy from drowning on a Durban beach.
Paramedics, police and municipal officials said on Saturday that Van Staden, 48, was walking along Warner Beach, near Amanzimtoti, about noon on Friday when he noticed Christiaan de Klerk, 10, and his father struggling to stay afloat in the strong currents.
The nearest lifeguards were more than 1km away at Winklespruit, and they rushed to Warner Beach in rubber ducks and other emergency vehicles when told of the incident.
Realising the boy needed help, Van Staden rushed into the water and, together with the boy’s father, kept Christiaan aloft long enough for lifeguards to pull him into one of the boats.
eThekwini municipality deputy head of parks and recreation, Christo Swart, said the boy and his father were taken to the beach, where CPR was performed.
While Christiaan survived, his father and Van Staden couldn’t be resuscitated.
Christiaan was rushed to the Kingsway Hospital in Amanzimtoti, and was discharged on Saturday. It is believed he was visiting Durban from Pretoria with his family for the Easter weekend.
Swart said the sea conditions were not ideal as there were strong side and back currents.
Van Staden’s wife, Carol, said she was devastated by the news of his death.
“I just feel numb with shock. I am devastated. Raymond has a young son, and how do I tell him that daddy’s gone – that daddy died a hero?” she said, emotion evident in her voice.
Van Staden’s brother, Desmond, was visiting from overseas, Carol said, and had recently been with Van Staden in Cape Town.
“Des and I just went down to the beach where it happened. Des is devastated,” she said.
She said Van Staden’s actions showed his character.
“He would’ve gone in and saved anybody. That’s just the type of person he was.”
One of Van Staden’s friends, Johann du Plooy, echoed the sentiment, saying: “He lost his life helping someone else, and that’s exactly the type of person he was.”
Van Staden was highly respected in security circles and was regarded as arguably one of the country’s top forensic investigators.
He started in the industry in 1980, and set up his own business, the Amanzimtoti-based Van Staden Forensic Services, in the early 1990s. He had previously been contracted as the head of security for Spoornet (now Transnet), and had worked with several local and African companies and NGOs.
His most high-profile job came in 2001 when he oversaw security for Cronje and his wife, Bertha. Along with Carol, Van Staden moved in with the Cronjes to ensure their safety amid death threats aimed at the former national cricket captain.
Van Staden was also involved in the personal security of international tennis stars Graf and Anna Kournikova during their visits to the country.
Raymond Van Staden with son, Casey
Raymond Van Staden
Raymond was a well known personality in the South African Investigation and Security Arena, he has been involved in Investigations and Security since 1980, and came into the Private Sector in the early 1990’s when he established Van Staden & Associates.
In the past he was contracted as the head of Security for SPOORNET (South African Railway Network) for their National and Southern African Operations to re-engineer their Security Department.
Raymond has successfully conducted a number of Country Risk Assessments on the African continent for International Companies and NGO’s. In addition has facilitated meetings between high ranking politicians and business executives, both in South Africa and the USA.
Raymond successfully completed a number of Military, Police and Private Sector courses, has a Certificate in International Studies – University of London, a Diploma in Security Management – Damelin Management School, Certificate for the Investigation and solving Crime and Civil Matters – University of South Africa (UNISA). A Post Graduate Diploma in Forensic Investigation and Criminal Justice – University of Kwa Zulu Natal in South Africa. He has undergone numerous Countermeasures Courses in South Africa and the United Kingdom.