Two busy days for rescuers highlight dangers of hiking on Table Mountain, Cape Town
Wilderness Search and Rescue have had two busy days within a four-day period, predominantly on Table Mountain. On Sunday, 21 July 2019, their day started early when the Skymed helicopter departed just after 8h00 for the Du Toits Kloof Pass to rescue two males who had to spend a very cold night high on a ledge. At 11h16, they had to assist an 18-year-old female who sustained a sprained ankle on Platteklip Gorge at the contour path on Table Mountain. At 14h50, the next call-out was to come to the aid of a patient with a possible fractured arm about 50m from the top of Platteklip Gorge. At 15h24, to complicate matters, they had to respond to a fire just above Tafelberg Road. Another call later required SANParks rangers to assist a slightly injured person near Cape Point.
This, after an equally busy day on Thursday, 18 July 2019, having to perform four mountain rescues over a 12-hour period. At 12h50, a hiking party of six, including three Australians, who went missing on Union Ravine on Table Mountain, was found by the Rapid Response team.
At 15h39, a report came in of a mother and daughter from the US in difficulty in foul weather. They found themselves off the path along the India Venster route below the cables of the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway. The duo was escorted down the mountain in the dark.
At 16h32, a third call came in about a 27-year-old French female in trouble in low visibility in the McClear’s Beacon area. Well equipped and kitted out, she was guided down Platteklip Gorge.
At 18h13, a fourth call was received when two visitors from the Netherlands were unable to take the cable car down. They were advised to take shelter in a building on Table Mountain. After the cold front had passed, they were driven off the mountain by a SANParks 4x4 just after midnight.
On Saturday, 20 July 2019, the WSAR said, two climbers found themselves unable to go up or down on a ledge high up in the mountains above the Du Toit kloof Pass. "Although an operation involving the helicopter was approved, it had to be called off when there was not enough daylight left to fly to rescue them. The 21-year-old and 16-year-old males spent a very cold night on the ledge until they were extracted this morning. Our operatives stayed in touch with them through the night. We had little choice in the matter as it would have taken a fit team more than six hours to reach the stricken climbers in the daylight. They required a check-up over before they were united with friends and family," the WSAR said.
"At 11h16 on Sunday, our next callout was about an 18-year-old female with a sprained ankle on Platteklip Gorge at the contour path. A hasty team of two medics and a hiker went up Platteklip Gorge and reached the patient at noon. While they were assessing this patient, another call came in at 12h08.
"This was about a female, three-quarters up Lakeside Pinnacle with a suspected broken ankle. The rescue helicopter flew to her location and extracted her to a waiting ambulance just off Boyes Drive. In the meantime, the hasty team walked the young female slowly down the Platteklip Gorge trail, where she was taken away by ambulance to the Christiaan Barnard Hospital.
"At 14h50, the next callout was about a patient with a possible fractured arm about 50m from the top of Platteklip Gorge. We put a callout to responders to meet at Tafelberg Road at the foot of Platteklip Gorge. Once again the rescue helicopter was authorised and landed on Table Mountain to allow the rescuers to bring the injured person to the helicopter.”
"To make things more complicated, our teams reported a fire at 15h24 just above Tafelberg Road. SANParks and the fire brigade were on scene. The female was complaining of extreme arm pain and the medic and technical rescuer, who were part of the helicopter crew, walked down the trail to the patient. On the first attempt, it proved difficult to extract the patient so the team walked her further down the trail and, on the second attempt, she was hoisted out.
"Then the rescuers were also extracted and by 4.40pm the patient was transferred to a waiting ambulance on Tafelberg Road. She was also taken to Christiaan Barnard.
"Another call required SANParks rangers to assist a slightly injured person near Cape Point. They assisted the person and transported them out."
Meanwhile, on Sunday a group of hikers will take to Steenberg Peak to raise awareness over criminal activities at the Table Mountain National Park.
Source: Cape Times