Woman tells of dramatic Fish River rescue

2011-05-12 10:32
Igna Rautenbach swims with hikers' backpacks after rescuing them from a sandbank in the middle of the flooded Fish River. (Fanie Kroukamp, Beeld)

Igna Rautenbach swims with hikers' backpacks after rescuing them from a sandbank in the middle of the flooded Fish River. (Fanie Kroukamp, Beeld)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - A Pretoria woman has told how she and two friends would have been swept away had they not been rescued from the flooded Fish River by a former recce and three others.

Angelique Herremans of Pretoria on Wednesday recounted how they were trapped for almost three days on a sandbank in the Fish River Canyon before their dramatic rescue on Monday morning.

Two former recces, Dr Fritz Ras, a vet from Standerton and Igna Rautenbach of Secunda, played leading roles in rescuing Herremans and her two fellow hikers.

She, Danie Pienaar and Michael Ellis were trapped on the sandbank near Bushy Corner, about 50km from the ravine’s starting point at Hobas.

Stranded

"It was the happiest moment of my life when the four wonderful men (Ras, Rautenbach and two of their friends) came walking along with a red canoe on Sunday afternoon,” said Herremans on Wednesday.

"When we tried to cross the river up to the first sandbank at about 12:00 on Saturday afternoon, it was ankle depth, but the water quickly rose. The water then simply became too strong to cross.”

They were stranded in the river.

"My backpack was swept away. We hoped the water level would fall so that we could walk through, but it just kept rising.” By sunset, they had put stones on top of each other to sit on.

Their five friends, who were on the other side, went looking for help the next morning.

They found Ras, Rautenbach and Gerhard Badenhorst, Gert Fourie and Fanie Kroukamp, who were already looking for trapped people in the valley on their own initiative.

Ras, who was a major in the special forces, said they had offered their help to park authorities when they heard several people were still trapped in the valley.

"We couldn’t just turn around and walk away. We simply had to help,” said Ras.

The five South African volunteers first brought two Americans to safety before they found the five hikers whose friends were trapped on the island.

Kroukamp helped the five to reach the Hobas camp, while Ras and the others carried a canoe about 12km before reaching the trapped three late on Sunday afternoon.

Dangerous

The water was already knee height and was submerging the sand bank.

The four rescuers struggled for some time to get rope thrown over to the stranded people before it became too dark and dangerous.

The rescue operation was postponed and Herremans and her two friends were finally rescued the next morning with the canoe from the island.

The canoe was later swept away in a rapid before disappearing under the water.

"After we were saved, the vet (Ras) probably asked us about 100 questions about our condition. He wanted to know if we had any injuries and whether we were dehydrated. He gave us energy drinks.

"Those four guys were wonderful. They remained calm and positive throughout. If they hadn’t come we would definitely have been swept away,” said Herremans.

Read more on:    floods  |  search and rescue
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
17 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Who won? Let the News24 App notify you!

Not only can you stay up to date with the latest elections news, you can also get notification of results during the results phase with our easy-to-use app.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Somerset West - 15:38 PM
    Road name: N2 Outbound
    DELAYS through Somerset West (weekend holiday volumes)
  • Thursday Newlands - 15:36 PM
    Road name: M3 Outbound
    DELAYS between Woolsack Drive and Wynberg Hill
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9790

Bold Design The BlackBerry Bold 9790 smartphone combines the iconic BlackBerry...

From R2979.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.