All over the country tributes are pouring in for Cape Town’s “unsung hero” Warren Williams, 29, one of six men who died while attempting to save lives in the Salisbury Island sewer pit at the Durban Naval Base last week.
His employer, Alan de Cerf, chief executive of Riodor Marine, a mechanical engineering company responsible for the maintenance of SA Navy vessels, said Williams was a “an accomplished artisan”.
“Warren was a selfless mentor to apprentices under his guidance at Riodor Marine, the company contracted to the SA Navy for the past four years, providing technical upkeep solutions.”
De Cerf said the Cape Town man was at the Durban Navy base to carry out specialised maintenance work aboard the warrior class attack craft offshore patrol vessel, the SAS Makhanda.
He said Williams’s work was not related to the sewer pit.
“On the day of the tragic incident, Warren was on the deck of the SAS Makhanda, which was berthed close to the building that houses the sewer pit. He heard panicked screams coming from the front of the building. Being the sort of person that would always selflessly help others in need, Warren, along with vessel crew members, rushed to try and assist. He was part of a human chain formed to try to rescue a worker who had fallen into the 5m deep pit,” said De Cerf.
Williams succumbed to the methane gas leak fumes and died at the scene. De Cerf said news of his death came as a shock to his colleagues and family.
“Warren and those brave heroes could have feared for their lives and chosen to be silent spectators, but instead they truly lived up to Madiba’s words. Warren died as he lived, a courageous, brave and yet unsung hero. Rest in peace dear friend, colleague and loved one, as always you truly regarded others as more important than yourself. Your memory will live on forever,” said De Cerf.