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Father saves family from drowning after carriage is swept away in river

Year 1903

Read by Martin Constable – Supporter, Royal Humane Society

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Noble, Alfred Robert, Mossel Bay.

On the morning of Friday, the 13th March, 1903, Mrs R.C. Ferris (wife of the Civil Commissioner, Mossel Bay) and baby. Accompanied by her daughters Maud and Gladys, with Mr. Noble and a native driver, went on a visit to George, Cape Colony, in a cart drawn by four horses. On reaching Cook’s Drift the water was very high owing to previous rain, and the driver was advised not to risk passing, but he replied there was no danger, and immediately went in.

The current being very strong turned the leaders down stream, and the driver, loosing all control of the horses, flung away the reins and sought to save himself, the cart and horses meantime drifting down the river. Mr. Noble threw out the front seat for more room, and the cart tilting over on one side was gradually filling when the two girls were washed out and carried under the cart. Leaving Mrs. Ferris and the baby in the cart, Mr. Noble dived and brought both to the surface, when they held on to the cart. Noble then took the baby and swam with it to the bank. Returning, he got hold of Mrs. Ferris and Maud, and succeeded in landing them also. Meanwhile the cart, with Gladys, had been carried a considerable distance down the stream, but running along the bank until he headed the floating mass, he swam out and called on the girl to let go, which she did, and having caught her he landed her in safety.

All four horses were drowned, the depth of the river being about 14 feet. Great risk was incurred, not only of drowning, but of being kicked by one of the struggling horses, Mr. Noble being once struck on the leg and knocked under water.

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