Rockfall: Ex-PMB climber killed

2011-06-02 00:00

CAPE TOWN — A mountain climb in Scotland ended tragically for two South African mountaineers, one of whom, Tessa Cousins (56), is formerly from Pietermaritzburg.

Her life partner, Dirk Versfeld (56), also a well-known mountaineer, broke his leg in the accident.

Cousins and Versfeld were climbing the Cuillin-hills on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, considered to be one of the most difficult climbs in the Scottish highlands.

A “fridge-sized” rock hurtled down the mountain, hitting Cousins on the head and breaking Versfeld’s leg. The rock injured three other climbers. A six-hour rescue operation by helicopter recovered the injured and Cousins’ body. She died in Versfeld’s arms, according to his brother, Martin.

Cousins worked for the Association for Rural Advancement in Pietermaritzburg throughout the nineties.

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