Gauteng man falls to death at Berg resort

2015-10-09 10:21
The South African Police Services Air Wing helicopter that assisted in recovering the body of Gauteng resident Paul Helmand at the Drakensberg Sun Resort.

The South African Police Services Air Wing helicopter that assisted in recovering the body of Gauteng resident Paul Helmand at the Drakensberg Sun Resort. (Supplied)

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Pietermaritzburg - The usually tranquil setting of the Drakensberg Sun Resort became the scene of a frantic search and rescue operation on Thursday when a Gauteng man plunged to his death.

The body of a Paul Helmand, 61, was recovered by a search and rescue team after he fell to his death while on a hike at the Drakensberg Sun Resort.

It is believed that Helmand, from Fourways in Gauteng, was about five kilometres away from the upmarket hotel on a hiking trail with members of his family when the incident occurred.

While on the hike, Helmand was chatting to his son about a cricket match and was re-enacting a catch from the game when he lost his footing and fell more than 30 metres down a steep embankment.

This is the second incident in the space of four months in which a Drakensberg Sun Resort resident has died while on a hotel activity.

According to provincial police spokesperson Major Thulani Zwane, the hotel staff called local rescuers for assistance when they heard of the incident at about just after 11:00 on Thursday.

Local rescuers tried to recover Helmand’s body for over an hour before the police’s Air Wing was called for assistance.

The Air Wing, carrying two search and rescue members, eventually recovered the body just before 15:00.

It is believed that when the incident occurred, Helmand’s son tried to resuscitate his father using CPR.

Hotel manager Roger Petyt confirmed that the incident occurred and that the matter was handed over to the police.

Petyt referred The Witness to the police for more information.

The Witness tried to contact Helmand’s son but was unable to reach him.

In August this year, prominent Ladysmith dentist Dr Muhammad Qadir Khan, 31, drowned in the lake at the Drakensberg Sun Resort.

At the time, The Witness reported that Khan was on the resort’s lake with a cousin when the canoe they were in capsized.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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