Dzenan did not hesitate when he jumped into the cold Neretva river to save a migrant, Hamza, from drowning and the two have since then become close friends.
Dzenan Durakovic, a former football player, TV reporter and now tourism worker in Mostar, takes tourists down the Neretva river on his boat every day.
One day, he saw something out of the ordinary.
“I heard a loud splash in the water and I thought someone might have jumped from the Old Bridge. Then I realized that there was a man trying to emerge from the water in a strange way next to a nearby diving point,” Durakovic said.
He said that he ran towards his boat and asked others who were closer to the drowning man at that moment to help him.
“Unfortunately, nobody understood how serious the situation was,” he said.
Durakovic dived into the water himself and swam towards Hamza Haffoud, who was flailing in the water.
He said that he could not find him at first, but eventually got to him.
“I saw a young man with his arms spread out, helpless (...) I managed to pull him closer with my foot and we emerged from the water together. I grabbed the rope from my boat and my colleague Mirza Pajic then came to help. We managed to drag him out near a cave which we call ‘Kavada’,” he explained.
Now, Durakovic dreams of the drowning young man nearly every night, he said.
"I am glad that after my gesture, those in need will realize that we are people who are ready and willing to help. We don’t care about the colour of one’s skin, their religion or nationality,” he said, adding that he will always remember that day.
An ambulance took Haffoud to the local hospital where he was treated.
A few hours after he was discharged from the hospital, the young man went to the plateau underneath the Old Bridge, looking for Dzenan to meet him.
Since then, the two have spent a lot of time together and both believe they will stay friends even after Hamza leaves Bosnia.
On Friday, the two went to the location where Dzenan saved his life.
"I admired the beauty of the Neretva river. I wanted to jump and refresh myself in the heat. After the jumped, I felt pain in my leg and was immediately shocked because I couldn't move my body. I started sinking and I wasn't aware of what was happening. Luckily, Dzenan came along and saved me,” Haffoud told Anadolu Agency.
Durakovic and Haffoud were both born in 1990, and Dzenan has a brother who is also named Hamza.