Trapped hikers plucked to safety

2013-01-13 22:56

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Cape Town - Seventeen hikers who were trapped at Die Braak on the Karbonkelberg hiking trial on Sunday, have been airlifted to safety by helicopter, the NSRI’s Craig Lambinon says.

The hikers apparently had been unaware of the fact that their guide had never hiked the trail before – a trail which can take experienced hikers up to 8 hours to negotiate, Lambinon added.

“They appeared to be ill equipped with some of the hikers wearing slip-slops and some hikers having no warm gear and it appeared that most had inadequate water supplies,” he said.

"Die Braak is a well-known junction on this trail where scores of past hikers have found themselves needing to be rescued.”

He said both the Hout Bay branch of Wilderness Search and Rescue and the Western Cape rescue division were alerted and the EMS Skymed helicopter was placed on alert.

Lambinon said the plan had been for the NSRI to deliver experienced rescue guides by boat and to provide supplies, including water.

However, it was decided to rather hoist 15 hikers, in relays, into the rescue helicopter and airlift them to the NSRI’s Hout Bay sea rescue base.

“Following a brief search, an additional two hikers, who had separated from the main group, were found near the Boss 400 crane barge wreck and they were also hoisted into the rescue helicopter and airlifted to our sea rescue base,” said Lambinon.

"It was then revealed that the remaining 4 hikers, who had also separated from the main group, had made it safely back to the Sandy Bay car park in Llandudno without assistance and they were safe and needed no further help.”

Lambinon added that a lone female was spotted by the Skymed rescue helicopter, hiking on the trail, but she indicted that she was in no danger and was happy to continue with her walk.

“It was later determined that she was not part of the hiking club and we suspect that she may be a very experienced hiker on her evening walk,” Lambinon added.

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