Foreign hiker rescued in bold helicopter hoist

2015-07-15 15:25

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Durban - A French hiker who was stranded on a rocky ledge for more than 24 hours was hoisted to safety in a bold helicopter rescue in the northern Drakensburg on Wednesday.

Matisse Ferga, 30, is now on board a military helicopter bound for Durban following his ordeal. 

The Parisian is understood to have flown into Johannesburg and hired a car for his hiking expedition, entering the mountain range from Qwaqwa in the Free State.

Mountain Club of South Africa rescue organiser Steve Cooke said that Ferga had hiked along the escarpment for three days without incident.

“It was at that point that he made a bad call and went down what he thought was the right path. He descended almost 1 000 metres and then became trapped on a ledge above a waterfall,” he said.

Cooke said two helicopters from Bloemfontein had joined a SAAF Oryx at a holding area at Dragon Peaks when the wind had picked up.

“They made the decision to fly again and did some incredible flying in a really tight area of operation and they managed to get him off the mountain.

“It was such a difficult extraction that they abandoned all his equipment... but he is safe and uninjured. They will be transporting him to Durban.

"He was examined by the paramedic and he is very lucky to have emerged unscathed,” Cooke added.

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

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