Woman plunged 180m down a steep slope on Chapman's Peak Drive, Cape Town
City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services crews alongside dedicated teams of professionals and volunteers from Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR) were called to assist other agencies after a vehicle left the road on Chapman’s Peak Drive on Monday afternoon, 10 April 2023. According to information from the scene, the 43-year-old was driving towards Hout Bay from the lookout, when her vehicle plunged 180m down a steep slope. She was alone in the car. Jermaine Carelse, spokesperson at the City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service, said that they received the call at 13h36.
“Goodwood Fire Station responded with a motor pump and skid unit, Hout Bay Fire Station with a motor pump and rescue vehicle and Lakeside Fire Station with one rescue vehicle”, said Carelse.
WSAR team members were dispatched to the scene shortly after 14h00 to assist in the multi-agency effort to rescue the driver.
A smaller medical and rescue team navigated the steep terrain down to the wreck, where they found that the patient had been able to exit the vehicle but was unable to walk any further. The patient was assessed and treated on scene before being placed into a stretcher. While the team below treated the patient, the rescue teams on the road rigged a technical rope system, anchored to one of the City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue vehicles.
A drone from the Western Cape Government Health Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Drone Unit was used to monitor and provide feedback on the rescue efforts below.
In a carefully coordinated effort, the patient was safely carried back up to the road. The team above slowly hauled the stretcher up to the road using the rope system, while the team below carefully moved the stretcher through the dense vegetation and up the steep slope. Once on the road, the patient was moved to a waiting ambulance and transported to hospital.
Carelse added, “Officers rendered medical assistance and helped with the rescue of the patient from the mountain slopes that was about 200m away from the road. The patient was brought to the roadside at 16h13 and transported to a medical facility. Challenges faced included the gradient of the slope and to have the patient safely hauled up to the roadway by means of a pulley-system. The adult female driver sustained injuries.”
The incident was concluded shortly after 16h20.
A spokesperson for Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR), David Nel, said “It’s inspiring to see such a large group of professionals and volunteers, from multiple services, working together in such a complicated environment. This was a demanding scenario made less difficult by having access to so many competent rescue specialists at one scene. It’s always a pleasure working alongside the City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services, Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness – Health Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Life Healthcare and the NSRI.”
“We wish the patient a speedy recovery,” Nel added.
Photos provided by Carlo Garth Adonis, Fabian Higgins, Rob Burger and Mountain Club of SA - Search And Rescue.
Sources: Wilderness Search And Rescue (WSAR) and Jermaine Carelse, spokesperson, City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service
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