Man plunges off cliff

2014-02-12 00:00

TWO Kloof teenagers had to look on helplessly on Monday night as a man fell about 30 metres down a cliff at the Krantzkloof Nature Reserve.

The victim, a 51-year-old man from Johannesburg, is now fighting for his life in ICU after a gruelling four-hour rescue effort to bring him to safety.

Speaking to The Witness from a plane to Durban yesterday afternoon, his wife said her husband drove all the way from Johannesburg to Kloof apparently after storming out of a meeting at work. He holds a senior position at a major retail bank.

She then received a “concerning” SMS from her husband.

But it was around 9 pm Monday night when she got a call from the emergency services telling her that he had been injured.

The victim’s wife, a school teacher, said even though she could not sleep properly on Monday night, she did go to school before she could fly to visit her husband in hospital.

She said her husband broke his hip and wrist.

The two teenage friends who were instrumental in saving the man’s life were apparently admiring the view when the man parked his car and walked to the edge of the cliff.

According to an interview posted on SA CAN’s YouTube channel, one of the teenagers said the man tried handing them his keys and said they must give them to his friend.

“I got up and tried to get my friend, because he was leaning on us and we could have fallen over,” said one of them.

She said her friend was unable to stop the man’s fall. They immediately called SA CAN, who contacted the emergency services who attended the scene.

SA CAN founder Brian Jones received a call from the teens at 6.11 pm.

He contacted the Ezemvelo Wildlife, Rescue Tech, and ER24, the police and Metro Fire.

Jones was impressed by how the teenagers handled the situation and how the rescue team worked tirelessly throughout the night.

“The young student, who is an SA CAN family member, was key to saving this life as part of our ongoing training of all our SA CAN family members to be SA CAN samaritans. This is just yet another amazing example of the Together SA CAN approach with the community, including our youth,” Jones said.

Rescue Tech spokesperson Nic Holmes, whose members were on the scene, said they first had to search for the man and then set up ropes for him to be hoisted up in a stretcher.

Holmes believes that the man fell 30 metres down a cliff. The whole operation lasted for about four hours.

He said the rescue was rather challenging and technical due to the terrain and the surrounding bushes.

“It was at night and hazardous and we couldn’t see clearly,” he said.

He told The Witness that the man was not crying but was complaining about the pain.

ER24 spokesperson Derrick Banks confirmed that the man sustained a broken leg and possible back injuries.

Police spokesperson Thulani Zwane, said “A suicide note was also found” at the scene.

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