Hikers grateful after rescue

2017-03-02 06:01
Pastor Willie Henning and Dr Corné van Rensburg after being rescued.

Pastor Willie Henning and Dr Corné van Rensburg after being rescued. (NSRI)

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Durban - A South Coast man of the cloth has expressed his gratefulness after he and his friend were rescued in Port Edward on Sunday after getting lost during a hike.

Pastor Willie Henning of Uvongo and his friend Dr Corné van Rensburg from Amanzimtoti were hiking the Nkonka Trail in Port Edward and got lost in thick mist on Saturday - both have many years hiking experience between themselves.

Henning said after realising they could not find the trail, they decided to keep close to the Umthamvuna River to prevent being lost even further.

“We kept our wits and never panicked during the whole ordeal,” Henning told the Fever.

With the area they were in being a gorge, there was no cellphone reception and all they could do was sit and wait. Being experienced hikers, Henning said they had packed enough sugars and salts for the hike, which sustained them as they were forced to spend the night under the stars.

In the meantime an alarm had been raised after the two failed to return from the hike.

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Port Edward joined the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife rangers, Police Search and Rescue, Medivac Ambulance Services, GP Security, Ballito Specialised Search and Rescue, local farmers and Port Edward Ratepayers’ Association to search for them.

John Nicholas, NSRI Port Edward station commander said despite an extensive search operation in heavy rain and mist, no sign of the men could be found, although briefly having contact with them by cellphone on Sunday morning before their cellphone batteries died.

“On Sunday afternoon the weather lifted for half an hour and local pilot, Dean Riley, volunteered his helicopter to assist in the search. Flying over an area where we thought they may be they were spotted in a barely accessible area, well off the hiking trail. Dean picked them up in his helicopter,” said Nicholas.

Henning and van Rensburg suffered no injuries and were given a clean bill of health even after having had to drink water from the river to keep hydrated.

“It brought comfort to our hearts to see how people from different backgrounds and walks of life came together to look for us and ensure our safety.

Thank you to all of them,” said Henning.

Read more on:    durban  |  search and rescue  |  good news

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