Superyacht crew member is hero in fatal South of France floods

Teone Capper, a 24 year old superyacht deckhand from New Zealand, has helped save the lives of an elderly couple as flash floods ripped through Antibes, France yesterday (October 4). The flooding in the South of France has killed at least 17 people.

Superyacht crew member Teone Capper hails from New Plymouth, New Zealand. He completed his crew training at Mahurangi Technical Institute and worked as a deckhand on yachts in the Auckland area before relocating to Antibes in July 2015 in order to find work on yachts in the Mediterranean.

Capper had been staying in a riverside campground in Biot, near Antibes, when the River Brague burst its banks, causing flash flooding. According to reports, three people were swept away from the campsite and died. 

According to a report on Stuff.co.nz, Capper had been watching a movie in a caravan with his friends when the flooding hit the campground. “We saw the water level just rise all of the sudden,” Teon Capper said. “The water just rose really fast, in thirty seconds it was up to our waists.”

As he and his friends prepared to evacuate, Capper noticed the lights come on in a nearby caravan and heard a commotion. “The lady in there was just screaming,” he said, “ we knew that they we had to do something.”

Capper braved swimming back through the oncoming water and heroically led the couple out of their caravan and to safety.

“You just evaluate the situation and try and help because there were a whole lot of older people there,” he said.

The heroic superyacht deckhand reportedly also tried to help others, and had to abandon rescuing an older man when a car began floating towards him in the increasingly swift current. But when rescue teams arrived, he was able to point them in the direction of the man’s caravan, and they were able to reach him by boat.

Teone Capper and 40 others were holed up in a two-storey building awaiting rescue. Capper posted on his Facebook: “We have been swept away in Biot France...people are trapped in caravans. We are stranded in a two storey building at least 40 ppl.”

Peter Capper, Teone’s father, said to The New Zealand Herald of his son, “He’s a very determined, passionate kid when he puts his mind to something – especially helping someone. I was very proud of him just for getting over there on his own steam, and now he’s saved people’s lives, too.”

According to Teone Capper’s father, the 24-year-old is due to sign a 12-month contract for a new role on a superyacht and should soon be putting this ordeal behind him. 

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