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Vernon doctor who drowned saving son awarded

Posthumous honour from Lifesaving Society
Michael Mthandazo drowned saving his son from the Thompson River July 30. (GoFundMe photo)

A Vernon man who rescued his son from the Thompson River in Kamloops last summer has been recognized posthumously.

Dr. Michael Mthandazo’s heroic efforts were awarded at the Lifesaving Society’s 111th Annual Honour & Rescue Award Ceremony in Burnaby on April 1.

Mthandazo was at a recreational soccer tournament in Vernon on July 30, 2022, when he entered the water to assist his son who was struggling to swim. He was able to get his son out of the water and to safety, but was subsequently swept away himself by the quick moving water of the Thompson River and did not resurface.

Kamloops RCMP recovered Michael’s body from the river on Aug. 11.

“Michael showcased the power of a father’s love for his child and embodied heroism at its finest by putting his son first,” the Lifesaving Society said. “He made the ultimate sacrifice in saving the life of his son. For his actions taken, we posthumously award Dr. Michael Mthandazo with the Silver Medal of Bravery.”

Mthandazo and 17 other award recipients were recognized for their bravery in making water-related rescues.

Each year this prestigious ceremony is an opportunity to celebrate the heroism and bravery of aquatic rescuers in B.C. and Yukon. The Lifesaving Society (also known as Royal Life Saving Society) is a not-for-profit organization whose mandate is to reduce water-related death and injury. The Society has been educating the public and training lifesavers and lifeguards in B.C. since 1911.

READ MORE: Fundraiser started for family of Vernon doctor who drowned in Kamloops

READ MORE: Kamloops to review river safety measures after Vernon man presumed drowned


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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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