Dad-son team die saving women from wildebeest

2013-12-17 00:00

PORT ELIZABETH — A father and son’s brave but ultimately useless fight against two rampaging black wildebeest at the weekend saved the lives of the wife and daughter walking with them.

Michael Moore (59) and his son John (34) died on Saturday wrestling the animals. This gave Adele (59), Michael’s wife, and Julie (22), his daughter, time to get away.

They were attacked while walking on a remote part of the farm Earlstown near Rhodes in the Eastern Cape.

After Julie was gored in the right leg, the death fight began.

“When my sister fell, my father and brother grabbed the animals by the neck and horns and wrestled them,” said David Moore (35), who farms with his father in the Maclear district.

“It gave my mother a chance to run away. My sister was able to run about 800 metres down the mountain and then called me on my cellphone — I was in East London.

“I immediately phoned Robin Turnbill, another Maclear farmer.”

Turnbill fetched Trevor Primmer, a professional hunter, and wildlife expert Pieter van Wyk, and they raced to the scene.

“It is a bad road and can only be tackled in a 4x4,” Turnbill said.

“Luckily, we came across Adele next to the road and raced to where Julie was.

“I saw the bull was about to storm her, it was about 800 metres away. Thank the Lord we got there in time,” he said.

“Trevor jumped off the Landcruiser, and the bull stormed at him. He shot, but the wind was howling and he missed,” Turnbill said.

“The bull came even closer and then — I believe the Lord’s hand was on him — the wind suddenly dropped. He was able to shoot the animal in the neck. And then the wind started blasting again.”

Turnbill put Adele and Julie into the cab, and with Van Wyk still on the back, drove further to find Michael and John. They were already dead.

The other black wildebeest was still around, and stormed the vehicle.

“I screamed at Pieter: ‘Shoot the thing!’ It was a kill-shot.”

Turnbill drove the women down off the mountain and returned later to fetch the bodies of Michael and John.

He said the Moores were superfit people who hiked regularly and ran marathons.

On Saturday, the family hiked from their farm Beamerside, which borders Earlstown, over the mountain headed for Rhodes where they were going to have lunch with family before driving back to their farm.

Bernard Reyneke, owner of Earlstown, said yesterday: “We don’t even know where to begin to show our sympathy.

“At first I was surprised, because I didn’t know they were hiking on the farm, and then the shock hit,” he said.

It has been suggested that the animals had been hand-raised. He said they were on the farm when he bought it in 2010.

Turnbill went to officially identify the Moores’ bodies yesterday.

“Our whole community is in mourning. It was a tragedy that should never have happened,” he said.

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