Injured hiker and rescuers stranded on mountain overnight

2016-12-31 08:01


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Cape Town - A rescue team and injured hiker were left stranded on a mountain in Wolseley on Friday night because the helicopter meant to have airlifted them from the spot was dispatched to a car accident and due to fading light couldn't return.

Wilderness Search and Rescue spokesperson Johann Marais said a team eventually reached them at 05.52 on Saturday morning.

The incident started unfolding early on Friday when reports surfaced that a hiker was injured along a kloofing trail in the Wits Else River Gorge area.

The Skymed Air Mercy Service rescue helicopter was dispatched and searched for her, and her companion who had called rescuers, for more than an hour.

An Air Mercy Service statement said a technical rescuer, who is also a medical doctor, was deployed by the chopper to a river gorge to search for them.

A ground team also searched for the hiker and her companion.

The statement said the technical rescuer and ground team found her.

Because of the awkward location she was in they decided they would help her get to a position better suited for the helicopter to reach her.

"A joined decision was made by the ground rescue manager and the aero-medical rescue team for the rescue helicopter to return to base due to the following factors: high temperatures, the width of the canyon was too narrow for the helicopter to attempt to do the extrication and the possibility of running out of fuel. Radio communication with the team was very difficult due to the location."

Those on the chopper ensured that the hiker was stable.

"Upon returning to the base to refuel the... helicopter was dispatched to Wupperthal in the Cederberg mountains for a motor vehicle accident involving a truck. One patient was transported to Citrusdal Provincial Hospital.  Due to fading daylight the rescue helicopter was unable to return to Wit Els to extricate the patient and rescue team. The rescue team spent the night with the patient on the mountain."

At first light on Saturday the hiker, her companion and eight rescuers were hoisted to safety.

"Technically this was a difficult rescue, team work and was of the utmost importance to ensure everyone is safe," the Air Mercy Service statement said.

Read more on:    cape town  |  search and rescue

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