Four rescue missions on the long weekend for Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR)
Dedicated teams of professionals and volunteers from Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR) responded to four more incidents this past weekend. Incident 1: Teams were activated by the Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre (ARCC) late on Saturday afternoon, 18 March 2023, after a paraglider crashed on Lion’s Head. Teams mobilised to the scene and found the injured pilot below the "second jump" site. A paramedic and rescue climber on board the Western Cape Department of Health EMS/Air Mercy Service (AMS) rescue helicopter were flown to the scene. The rescue team were hoisted down to the patient’s location.
He was assessed and treated, before being hoisted up into the helicopter and flown to a nearby landing zone. He was transported to hospital by ambulance.
Incident 2: Multiple teams, including the Western Cape Government Health Emergency Medical Services Drone Unit, were activated late on Saturday evening to assist in searching for a missing 82-year-old hiker in the Helderberg Nature Reserve in Somerset West. The hiker had started his walk at 13h00 and was reported missing by his partner when he failed to return home. An extensive search was mounted, and continued late into Saturday night. Unfortunately, the hiker was found deceased. Teams then assisted SAPS in carrying the remains of the deceased from the trail.
Incident 3: A team was deployed to Du Toit's Kloof on Sunday morning to assist SAPS in the recovery of a body from Smalblaar Kloof, near the top of the pass. Once on scene, the remains were packaged into a stretcher. Teams then slowly lowered the stretcher down a series of steep waterfalls using technical rope systems. The deceased was carried back to the forward staging point and the team was stood down just before 16h00.
Incident 4: WSAR was contacted by a foreign hiker on Sunday evening after his hike took longer than expected. According to the 30-year-old hiker, he had started up India Venster and intended on descending Platteklip Gorge. He decided to call for help after sunset when it was unsafe to proceed. He did not have a torch. Teams were transported to the top of Table Mountain in the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway. They quickly hiked to his location and walked him back to the Upper Cableway Station. He was brought down the mountain in the cable car.
According to WSAR spokesperson Johann Marias, “We would like to extend our condolences to family and friends of the two deceased. We’re aware that many wilderness enthusiasts still do not know about WSAR or how to call for help in a wilderness emergency. We again ask of everyone reading this: please help us by continuing to share the emergency contact number Tel: 021 937 0300 and share our posts and the #IAmWildernessSafe campaign.”
Photos provided by Hendre Zoutendyk, Fredy Mohorich, Travis Talmarkes, Richard Dellbridge and Sgt Daggia-Boer
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