Injured Belgian hiker rescued from mountain gorge near Swellendam

2017-08-15 19:20
A rescue team tries to get into the gorge to rescue a Belgian hiker. (M Young)

A rescue team tries to get into the gorge to rescue a Belgian hiker. (M Young)

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Cape Town – A Belgian tourist who fell and injured himself in the mountains near Swellendam was airlifted to hospital on Tuesday morning, Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR) said.

The man, 27, was found with head injuries, hypothermia and suspected fractures, WSAR spokesperson Johann Marais said.

The call for help first came through on Monday night. Rescue officials and paramedics drove to the area to begin the search.

Around 01:00 on Tuesday, the rescue team reported hearing the man’s voice but were still trying to find him.

Marais said they used ropes to lower rescue team members into the kloof where he had fallen. When they had not reached the man after first light, a helicopter was flown in to help with the search.

The team spotted the tourist just before 10:00. The helicopter hoisted paramedics in and they extracted the man around 11:00.

He was flown to a hospital in Swellendam. Marais said the tourist had gone hiking without a permit. He had also not informed the reserve or his friends about his hiking plans or route.

“He was under-equipped, and did not have a headlamp or torch which negatively affected his chances of being rescued as he could not signal his exact location to the rescue team.

“He was far off acknowledged routes and descending a steep kloof when he fell, and sustained injuries.”

Marais stressed the importance of hiking in teams, being properly equipped, and following protocol.

Read more on:    cape town  |  hiking

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