Helicopter responds to Cape Town mountain emergencies
Peninsula Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR) was called out for two separate incidents in Cape Town on Sunday, 26 January 2020. In the first incident, a hiker had fallen at Lion’s Head on Table Mountain, while a second incident later in the day resulted in a man’s death after he fell at Chapman’s Peak. Both incidents required the intervention of the helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS). At 10h04 the WSAR was activated after a caller reported that a hiker had taken a fall near the chains and staples section on Lion’s Head on Table Mountain. The first responders who assembled at the start of the trail on Signal Hill Road comprised a hasty team that included a medical rescue technician. The team reached the patient after walking for about 20 minutes. On arrival it was discovered that a 21 year old local female had sustained injuries to her head an arm. Efforts to stabilise the patient commenced while waiting for the arrival of the(HEMS. Rescue mountaineers, logistical support and other crew were stationed along Signal Hill road to manage the traffic and secure a temporary emergency landing zone (LZ).
After the casualty was hoisted into the HEMS she was delivered to the temporary LZ where she was placed in the care of a road ambulance team who transferred her to a medical facility for further treatment.
WSAR said, “We would like to commend the first aid efforts of the hikers who had assisted the lady immediately after the accident. We wish the lady a speedy recovery.”
In a second incident later the same day, at 15h03, the WSAR was activated again after it was reported that a person ended up at a section below Chapman’s Peak drive at the main view site. National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) rescue boats from Station 8, Hout Bay and Station 26, Kommetjie, responded to the area below the view site in order to offer support and assistance. In some instances, the crews are inserted from the seaside. This may also include the retrieval of casualties as well.
The rescue helicopter, high angle rescue climbers, logistical support crew, NSRI and SAPS were among the services who responded to a point above where the person was reportedly stricken on the steep slope. The local male was located by the helicopter crew, where he could be seen lying in a precarious position. After the medical rescue technicians reached the location on the mountain slope, the gentleman was unfortunately declared deceased on the scene.
16 members from the MCSA Mountain Rescue team assisted the complex recovery of the gentleman who fell from the iconic Chapman's Peak Drive. Two technical rescuers abseiled down simultaneously to minimise the risk of dislodging rocks onto one another. They reached the patient, secured him in a stretcher and the party was hauled back to the roadside using a rope system. Unfortunately, on the way up a loose boulder was dislodged and struck one of our rescuers on the helmet, causing a mild head injury.
The patient’s body was extracted by means of a stretcher as well as the use of complex rope and hauling systems which were set up and managed from the road. Here the recovered body was handed to the Western Cape Department of Health Forensic Pathology Services (FPS).
WSAR said they would like to express sincere condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.
Source: Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR)