No trace of SA trio in Fish River Canyon

2011-07-21 22:19
Cape Town - Three South Africans who went hiking in the Fish River Canyon last week seem to have vanished without trace, a rescue official in the Ai Ais region told News24 on Thursday.

The trio - Rene Booyse, and Ricky and Sandra Harmse - began hiking on Wednesday last week with four other friends. They were due to return on Monday this week and be back in Pretoria by Tuesday.

When they didn’t turn up, Booyse’s daughter, Ilonda de Beer, became worried and phoned the Ai Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park asking about their whereabouts.

De Beer said it was only at this time that she was told that her mother and the Harmses were missing. 

She said that she has been trying to contact them on their cellphones but there doesn’t appear to be any signal.

Other hikers haven’t seen them

According to Transfrontier Park’s warden, Mendes Vinte, six rescuers had gone out on foot and two had gone out by car. A helicopter had also been sent out to find the missing hikers.

“There is no trace of them. There are also lots of hikers here and we’ve asked every group of hikers and they haven’t seen anything,” Vinte said.

“It is very unusual for people to go missing here.”

He said it was a very common route but that it was “easy to get lost if you want to take short cuts”.

He said that absolutely none of the trio’s belongings were found.

Meanwhile, it was unclear whether or not the group, who were not experienced hikers, had a guide since De Beer said that they did and Vinte said that they didn’t.

De Beer also said that they became separated when they took different routes around a boulder but Vinte said that the missing trio wanted to take a short-cut and that is what led to them going missing about 15km outside the park’s exit gate.

Read more on:    namibia  |  search and rescue
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