Berg rescuers’ long haul

2015-03-16 00:00

IT took six people over an hour to carry an injured man to a medical helicopter ­after he plunged down a slope in the ­Drakensberg on Saturday.

The 75-year-old man was part of a group hiking Kertlands Pass in the Monk’s Cowl area of the Drakensberg.

KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Medical Services spokesperson Robert Mckenzie said that the man was walking on the path when it is believed that he slipped.

“This resulted in him falling and ­tumbling about 15 to 30 metres down a slope. He was injured and unable to walk. Members of the hiking party raised the alarm,” he said.

Rescuers said that the rescue would have been easy, if it were not for the wet conditions, which hampered efforts.

The path on which the man had fallen was steep and a medical helicopter could not land close to where the man had fallen.

Two paramedics from the EMRS ­Bergville base and members from the Mountain Club of South African hiked up to the injured man.

The man had sustained head and neck injuries, but was still conscious when ­rescuers reached him.

“When the rescue party reached the injured man they found him in a stable condition and well cared for as several of the people he had been hiking with were medically qualified and at least one of them was a doctor.

“They placed the man on a specialised rescue stretcher and prepared a landing zone for the helicopter,” Mckenzie said.

Six rescuers, who had to ensure they ­carried the man on gently so as not to further injure him, hiked for over an hour to reach the helicopter.

Mckenzie said that the helicopter had stopped at Dragons Peak to reassess the patient before he was airlifted in a stable condition to St Anne’s Hospital in ­Pietermaritzburg.

Shubnum Ismail, spokesperson for the hospital, said the man was not seriously injured and was not admitted for further treatment.

The man and his family were believed to have stayed at the Champagne Castle Hotel.

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