People tweet instead of help fallen hiker

2013-01-07 10:08

Cape Town - While the body of a Cape Town father lay on a ledge on Lion's Head, hikers walked past taking photographs and tweeting about the fall instead of helping him.

Ibrahim Salie had apparently slipped and fell about 20-30m onto a ledge while walking with his daughter and a friend, Die Burger reported. He sustained head and hip injuries.

One hiker, 25-year-old Zac, who has refused to give out his surname, rushed to help Salie and later expressed his shock at the lack of action from other bystanders.

“It was that I was with him for nearly an hour before paramedics got there. &not a single perspon came down to us. They just stood & watched, [sic]” Zac tweeted.

“I sat with his body for at least 45 minutes to an hour, waiting for emergency services to arrive while people just looked and took photographs,” he later said.

Zac said a passerby threw an emergency kit down to him but doesn’t know who the person was as they disappeared shortly after.

Although Zac, who had a first aid qualification, tried to feel for a pulse there was nothing.

Another tweeter, @TalyaGoldberg wrote: “Helicopter was directly above us, but has now gone round the mountain, didn’t seem to spot the guy. The father who fell off Lion’s Head passed away but has been removed by air. The guy who fell, two children are in total shock. They saw everything happen.”

A Table Mountain spokesperson said it was the third time in three weeks that someone had fallen on Lion’s Head.

Although he received praise for trying to help, Zac said he was uncomfortable with all the attention.

“People should rather focus on the man and his family. I wish people would rather give that much attention to emergency personnel and police who have to do this kind of thing every day.”

  • gert_swart - 2013-01-07 10:13


      preshen.govender.12382 - 2013-01-07 11:43


      Rick.Gonzo.56 - 2013-01-07 14:21

      Capetonians...nuff said. Leave it to a Joburg boy to help.

      Rick.Gonzo.56 - 2013-01-07 15:45

      Kenny - tell that to your fellow capetonians.

      nu_un_clear - 2013-01-07 21:14

      Rick, let me tell you something, us capetonians don't go up lions head during this time of the year because there is just too much of you Jo-burgers and tourists up there, you can verify that statement with any capetonian that frequent lionshead. So, I can safely say that its you guys that just stood there and watched.

      Jack - 2013-01-07 21:59

      This is a well known human psychological deficiency observed many times. People wait thinking others will take care of the problem. Yes, Virginia, humanoids can be pretty awful sometimes, and not even realise it.

  • gary.bhengu - 2013-01-07 10:17

    Well done Zac

      zacrusagara - 2013-01-07 15:01

      Thanks Gary

  • Jeremy - 2013-01-07 10:19

    What exactly were the tweeters supposed to do? The report says the climber was already dead - and the guy with him had already called the emergency services. What more could have been done?

      irvin.freely.5 - 2013-01-07 10:31

      I'm guessing the distraught children were close by. How about NOT taking photos or tweeting about know, as a mark of respect to someone who is either dead or gravely injured. Taking photos is just disrespectful and callous. How about trying to comfort the kids or make sure they are safe....I don't know, anything but this idiotic desire to share everything via social media.

      Jeremy - 2013-01-07 11:02

      Hi Irvin, I'm afraid that's what twitter is all about.....getting info onto the net as quickly as possible. Short of banning twitter, it's always going to happen. People who use it need "events" such as this to justify themselves. By the way, do you honestly think the children would have welcomed "comfort" from passers-by?

      gungets.tuft - 2013-01-07 11:14

      Jeremy 1. Show some respect 2. Help the kids. Yes, yes, yes - help from anyone would have been decent. I was an early responder to an emergency on Durban beach this weekend. After I had done what I could, the paramedics arrived and I spent some time attending to the mans son who was distraught. It helped until his family arrived. My advice - don't assume, just get in there and help. If it turns out to be futile at least you know. If you don't try, you will never know.

      larry.lakeshore - 2013-01-07 13:13

      I always have to look up the definition of a straw man argument but I think this may be one. Forget about the tweeting for a second. And then ask why weren't more people going down the mountain to help regardless of whether they were tweeting or not. There are multiple reasons listed in a few others comments, such as the ability to find a faint pulse, medical training, crowding of the victim etc etc. Zac seems to have been the most qualified for the job and he went down. Was Zac able to relay important information to those above and the EMT guys who were en route? Surely this is an important bit of information that needed reporting on? This article takes the twitter aspect to sensationalise the whole event, and fails to report on the critical information. It is also roughly 24 hours after the event. They should have really asked an emergency response employee what the public should do in situations like these and show some responsible journalism. Regarding the twitter aspect and taking photo's, I believe that is wrong.

  • grobler.nic - 2013-01-07 10:21

    I don't understand. The guy is dead. Somebody is with him an cannot do anything for him. Proper help is on the way. What are the other people supposed to do - all climb down on the ledge and tweet from there?

      granville.ormerod.5 - 2013-01-07 10:46

      Hopefully next time it will be you lying there and we will all take pictures of you in front of your kids and tweet about it.....there is such a thing as respect and judging from your reply your parents never taught you are an insensitive twit...

      grobler.nic - 2013-01-07 10:55

      Granville. When I'm lying there I won't know about what is going on. But I won't like other people to endanger themselves doing stupid things - you included. Nothing was said about photos and it is news worthy. Twit.

      gungets.tuft - 2013-01-07 11:17

      Just show some damn respect. $@!%$!% sakes, what have we become, morbid papparazzi. Put your phone in your pocket and f@#$ off home if you are not inclined to help. The number of times I have had to physically push stupid onlookers out of the way at emergency scenes just so medical people can do their jobs. Sick.

      brian.exmachina - 2013-01-07 16:01

      Reading some of the comments people really are turning into emotionless, disrespectful, mindless robots. Completely desensitized to the plight of others, completely self absorbed and selfish. Shallow, wallowing in the suffering of others, entertained by misery, dehumanised and proud of it. Sad state of affairs.

  • mzuvukile.maswana - 2013-01-07 10:22

    Is this what we have become as people of Mzantsi? Not knowing what the moral obligations are? Technology and social media seem to have consumed our senses of morality. Appauling as those hikers who twitted instead of lending a hand were not different from those people who didn't assist that Indian girl who was brutaly raped and thrown off a bus.

      shooshyu.tu - 2013-01-07 16:03

      mzuvukile.maswana I thought we were people of South Africa, where & what is this thing called mzantsi?

  • JohncarlosBiza - 2013-01-07 10:25

    Cape snobbishness and apathy...way too common. Well done Zac and hope watching someone die is not traumatic to you

      sarah.bouttell - 2013-01-07 10:43

      No, general malaise which seems to have struck the people in the world. Indifference, and callous attitude. Most seem to stop and consider how they could benefit, rather than offer help.

      sbisschoff - 2013-01-07 10:48

      Perhaps the other hikers were from your part of the country John.

      sean.bagley.50 - 2013-01-07 11:03

      @sbisschoff Don't be a b***h.The fact that in the so-called best run municipality that is Cape Town,the Good Samaritan,Zac, "was waiting for nearly an hour before paramedics got there..." is a reflection of what's wrong with your BS attitude over there.

      shooshyu.tu - 2013-01-07 16:16

      @JohncarlosBiza Why is this, according you, classified as "Cape snobishnes" @sean -Cape Town IS the best run municipality, NOT "the so-called best run municipality that is Cape Town" Keep your anti Cape Town & Western Province comments for the rugby forums where you are a regular regurgitator. Have either of you stopped to think that this unfortunate incident took place at a tourist hotspot, in the tourist high season so it's very possible that most,if not all, of the onlookers were actually NOT from Cape Town, possibly from Jhb hey Sean?

  • somikazi.pita - 2013-01-07 10:26

    Were they suppose to bring him back to life? Confused for dayzzzZz!

      rude.awakning - 2013-01-07 10:47

      pity(sic) i hope you or a family member never land yourself in that situation! Because then you will be more then confused for ever!

      aijaman.pirlo - 2013-01-07 16:23


  • chris.maakal - 2013-01-07 10:28

    The fallen hiker was probably dead already, as reported the hiker had no pulse. Under those circumstances, the crowd did exactly the right thing to not endanger their lives as well to try and assist a person with no pulse. If this is not the case, tell me exactly what value an average human (i.e. not a doctor or ER person, or somebody who could assist to move to body) could have added by climbing down to the body? Well done to Zac who was probably the best suited person from the crowd to assist the person. In my opinion it is not the crowd who was at fault, but the journalist who writes incorrect emotional stories to attract readership.

      piet.motsoeneng - 2013-01-07 10:54

      Chris, how would you know that the person has no pulse from a distance? So, reckon the best thing they could do under the circumstances is to be compete to be the first to post the pictures and the story on social networks? I think they were extremely insensetive, I am sure the man's family would or any family for that matter would not want to learn about the death.of their loved one on social networks.

      chris.maakal - 2013-01-07 11:47

      Piet, I woudn't know. I'm not even sure I would be able to find a weak pulse on an injured person laying next to me. And for this reason I would also not be tell if the person was alive from a distance. I have read Twitter comments about this today, all I could find was mentions of an accident and warning hikers to be careful. I have not searched for it, but can you give an example of where a pic of the incident was posted on any social network? I think one should also consider what the reason was for the accident. Did the person strayed from the marked path, or did the fall happen from a marked path? Did Zac request help from anybody who did not provide assistance? We should rather use this incident to work together so that fewer incidents like this happen, rather than taking strong positions and dig in. I'm all against the posting of dead or even injured humans on social networks, but with a vision to use the incident to make hiking safer eye witness reports and photos can help to accurately understand what happened to prevent more.Would anybody object if the police take photos of a crime scene? Another principle is to best deal with family in such an incident. What to tell these people? What is the best way to assist them? (is it dangerous to their health to offer them water/food? should one allow them to continue to look at the body or rather try to move them away?) A positive outcome from this incident can be to provide guidelines to assist people in shock.

  • thadelphukem.completely - 2013-01-07 10:29

    It seems people generally dont care about their fellow man anymore!!! Suffering has become nothing more than a photo opportunity it seems... Well done Zac, you made us all proud...

  • julian.laing.3 - 2013-01-07 10:31

    People suck

  • david.vanderwesthuizen - 2013-01-07 10:36

    This is what is wrong with the world everybody is watching and no body is doing anything. No Respect no morals and always with a bloody cellphone or ipad in the hand those things should be banned not guns.

      nettie.potgieter.5 - 2013-01-07 12:36

      With dew resepect in this case all that could be done was done. The trained first aider was next to the fallen man whow said the man was dead. Somebody even supply firsaid kit. The rescu personel and helicopter was notified. People standing there did what our age of media do spread the new. That is why we are able to read about it.

  • david.banner.104418 - 2013-01-07 10:39

    Who edits this? The father who fell off Lion’s Head passed away but has been removed by air. The guy who fell, two children are in total shock. They saw everything happen.”

      hermann.schwindt - 2013-01-07 11:48

      I also thought the same thing. But it appears that it might be part of a tweet.

  • angelanair3 - 2013-01-07 10:40

    Ghouls - people are like ghouls! Ever seen an accident? People go crawling by to see the accident - and I dont think its always to see if they know the injured people! And here is a case in point - the ghoul factor - tweeting like an idiot while the man lay dying! And took photos? For what? Oh maybe the Photo of the year - paid for by some tabloid! I hope they have a stab of guilt this morning - and feel for the kids who watched their father lay there dying!

  • hlgiorgino - 2013-01-07 10:49

    Well done Zac and to all of you twits who tweeted shame on you, have you no shame.

  • PETESKEAT - 2013-01-07 10:54

    All respect to Zac - a brave man. I sustained a fall on a mountain above Queenstown as a boy, sustaining severe head wounds and had to be rescued. My rescuers were experienced personell, not folks out for a hike. To expect untrained people to put themselves at risk of injury or death is simply too much. Yes, it is not good that people were taking pictures, but rather one tragic death than more.

  • ruben.maistry - 2013-01-07 10:55

    What has society become? Yes everyone could not have gone down but that could impede rescue work. Interesting to know just how many of the onlookers called for help.Well done to the people who supplied a first aid kit.Condolences to the gentleman's family.

  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2013-01-07 10:57


  • bbooyse - 2013-01-07 11:02

    I can understand if helping someone isn't an instinctive reaction...but taking pictures for twitter and facebook? That's disgusting

  • lydonmcg - 2013-01-07 11:03

    I agree that taking photos was insensitive but there's no indication as to how dangerous the climb down to the man was, considering the 20-30m fall killed him. If it wasn't a difficult climb then people should be ashamed indeed.

  • jcistheman - 2013-01-07 11:07

    What a completely stupid article. Your article and the one posted by Die Burger's suggests this man died on impact and the good gentleman who climbed down to try and assist the unfortunate man confirmed that he had no pulse. What assistance are you suggesting the witnesses provide? A shameful piece of journalistic sensationalism this. Condolences to the friends and family of the victim.

  • eseum - 2013-01-07 11:09

    The insensitivity of most of News24 readers never cease to amaze me.

  • breinlekkasie.dodelikegif - 2013-01-07 11:11

    So what is one suppose to do when someone falls to his death, risk your own life to go and recover the body? Anyway what does Zac suppose others must do when he is already down there? Hope Zac never attempts Mount Everest because the dead are left on the mountain. It is to dangerous to remove their remains.

      andrew.pottow - 2013-01-07 11:36

      You're an idiot. How were they supposed to know he was dead? The fact that someone threw down an emergency kit shows that they thought it would help but no one was willing to actually get their hands dirty so to speak. Hind sight is always 20/20 vision but the fact is that you can't tell if you can or can't help from 30meters above. You're obviously not a climber or mountaineer with that attitude, so don't try and justify your opinion with something you have no understanding of. Everest and the other big peaks have nothing in common with table mountain from a mountaineering and danger perspective.

      rude.awakning - 2013-01-07 15:54

      in ander woorde , lekkasie, jy is breinloos! Lag lekker hard!

      nico.brits.581 - 2013-01-07 21:10

      Lykmy amper alles het al uitgelek.

  • dianne.hildyard - 2013-01-07 11:12

    People were worried about 21.12.12? I would say that THIS is the end of the world as we know it! What mind numbing insensitivity!

  • su.quinn.5 - 2013-01-07 11:18

    That mountain has claimed lots of lives & people still don't take it seriously.

  • nick.tarr.39 - 2013-01-07 11:25

    Zac = good guy greg.

  • ray.molekoa.5 - 2013-01-07 11:33

    Falling off something is my worst fear in life . I go breathless reading this article . My sincere condolences to the family and the kids .

      nick.tarr.39 - 2013-01-07 12:16

      Why would this get down votes? Trolls.

      khathutshelo.muafrica - 2013-01-07 22:07

      I would pay whateva amount jst 2 see bone head AKA bone marrow,what a creature.....may god guide Salie's family in this trying times'

  • dick.macalumba - 2013-01-07 11:40

    Ooooh no not again!

  • dick.macalumba - 2013-01-07 11:40

    Ooooh no not again!

  • niggled - 2013-01-07 11:47

    very sad indeed. Perhaps one should look at why 3 people have fallen at this very spot in 3 weeks? put up a fence or improve the safety aspect.

  • raeez.phillips - 2013-01-07 11:57

    To thE guy tht Helped Ebrahim Salie thank yoU to U.... But not all of us who was on the mountain at that Time were Experienced hikers some of us were 1sT TimErS. So we wuldnt of known wat To dO......

      nick.tarr.39 - 2013-01-07 12:16


      rude.awakning - 2013-01-07 12:49

      raeez, it was big of you to come forward! Some people panic when faced with an emergency and others swing into action. But moral support to the injured or those helping may have meant that the firstaider having his hands free whilst you phone emergency services. Most networks have a freecall emergency number and will connect you to the relevant services! It may help if you take a first aid course in case you need it one day!

      raeez.phillips - 2013-01-07 13:00

      @nick uhm u say Help RighT let's put it ths waY sunday the 6th of January 2013 was the 1st time I ever went hiking nd by my knowledge if u dnt hav experience sumthng is bound to go wrong....

      khathutshelo.muafrica - 2013-01-07 22:00

      Understood,but taking pictures is moraly wrong

  • fabriano2 - 2013-01-07 12:45

    Should'nt of taken pictures

  • abner.mophethe - 2013-01-07 12:53

    im sure it was not possible for all the other hikers to climb down the ledge and help the guy,but they dint have to take pics and twitt about it either

  • zwelethu.nondumo - 2013-01-07 13:22

    People have the right to tweet about the ordeal, its not fair to critisize the tweeters and people taking pictures! Some1 fell and died there's no Hero in this story coz no one was saved! Story telling by pictures

      rude.awakning - 2013-01-07 14:53

      you must be from Malemaville!

      khathutshelo.muafrica - 2013-01-07 21:55

      And u two from verwoedville...what is this zwelethu is saying is sumhow,how abt sum respect 4 the dead...moral decay'

      tersia.louw.12 - 2013-01-07 22:56

      Jeez, khathutshelo, are you playing Mac to zwelethu's Zuma? Explaining to us what he meant? Did we take what he wrote out of context? Bollocks! If zwelethu can't write what he means he shouldn't post. And if he posts he should take flak for it.

      khathutshelo.muafrica - 2013-01-08 07:38

      I mean what he is supporting is moraly wrong,no respect at all

  • ian.d.samson - 2013-01-07 13:57

    Having climbed to the summit of Lion's Head twice, once in dense fog, the second in clear weather, it's easy to see how someone can slip and fall. Perhaps others did not wish to risk their own lives through helping another. The tretcherous (extremely dangerous) parts ought to have railings installed to prevent another death.

      brian.exmachina - 2013-01-07 16:07

      I can understand all the arguments of not crowding the victim, not risking your life, not climbing down because somebody more qualified is already there etc. What I don't understand is taking pictures of a man who had just tragically died and standing there glued to your cellphone tweeting like a twit like it's your afternoon's entertainment. At the very least people could hear if they could help in any way, take care of the kids, and restrain themselves from taking photos of the victim. Are people really so daft that they don't get that it's in bad taste?

      tersia.louw.12 - 2013-01-07 23:00

      What on earth did you think you were doing, climbing Lion's Head in dense fog? Even though rescuers are professional, they risk their lives every time for people they don't even know who are less careful than they should be. And many are volunteers.

      Peter - 2013-01-08 07:23

      This is so correct. I climb Lions Head every week and as it is a real tourist attraction additional safety measures should be installed, Specifically railings for both ladders would help. In Italy in the Dolomites the Via Ferratta have been designed to manage exposed routes allowing inexperienced hikers to enjoy the mountains. Its not expensive, there are only a few really exposed spots (on the non chain route) and it could make unfortunate incidents like this less frequent

  • brigitte.bell.33 - 2013-01-07 15:05

    Shocking, but not remotely surprising!

  • natalie.johnson.9655 - 2013-01-07 17:43

    The person who fell to his death was the cousin of my best friend. The one child is supposed to start high school this year and the other is starting grade 5 - surely trying to comfort the children who just saw their father fall to his death would have been helpful? They were a close family and with school starting soon - how do you think the children are going to cope? Has anyone given this any thought?

      rude.awakning - 2013-01-07 18:50

      my sentiments too!

  • ian.wilkinson.9235 - 2013-01-07 18:49

    I was up there as well, and i can tell you that emergency services were there very fast. We walked past the 'chains section' and this incident hadn't happened yet, and about 2mins later there was a helicopter overhead and they winched 2 guys down, so not sure about the guy sitting with a body for 45mins to an hour...whatever happened, its tragic wishes to the guys family, very sad

      ian.wilkinson.9235 - 2013-01-07 18:50

      sorry, thats 20mins later...typo

  • brendon.greeff - 2013-01-07 19:06

    @Rick: Most people walking Lions Head this time of year aren't from Cape Town. You'd know that if you walk it once a week.

  • fidelity.mcoshi - 2013-01-07 20:10

    "Technology is the Opiate of the Masses"

  • HJS - 2013-01-07 21:15

    Well done Zac for making an effort. Not only this country, but the world at large, needs more good souls like you.

  • gregy.ham - 2013-01-07 21:41

    "Only in America..." Oh wait, this happened in South Africa!

  • tersia.louw.12 - 2013-01-07 22:50

    Well done, Zac; it's good to know there are still folk like you around. No many, but some.

  • zacrusagara - 2013-01-07 23:41

    Few realise how tough this actually was on me. Feeling helpless is the worst feeling in the world - knowing there is absolutely nothing in the world you can do. Do you just sit there numb and wait to tell the family members.

  • nmamabolo1 - 2013-01-08 06:33

    is the Lion's Head in Diepsloot??this sounds ghetto to me.

  • uriel.thozi - 2013-01-08 07:56

    That's how much people have lost the sense of ubuntu and have been engulfed with sensationalism of tweeting breaking news! Sies maan! They should be ashamed of themselves!

  • hendriek.woede - 2013-01-08 08:16

    What culture is this? What one is going to do with a photographs of a dead person who is not even his/her relative?

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