Teen slips and dies during nature reserve hike

2018-01-04 19:16
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Cape Town - An inquest has been launched after a 17-year-old boy slipped and died while hiking with friends in the Helderberg Nature Reserve in Somerset West, police said on Thursday.

Police spokesperson Captain FC Van Wyk said the boy, identified as Claudio Mendes, was hiking with three friends when they ran out of water and decided to turn back.

"Upon returning, one of the teenagers almost fell and [warned] the rest of the group to be careful as the pathway was slippery. [But Mendes] slipped and fell. 

"He was declared dead on the scene," said Van Wyk.

Voluntary organisation Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR) sent a party out to help as soon as the alarm was raised, spokesperson Johann Johann Marais said. A paramedic was included in the team.

Immediate Medical and GB Med Rescue joined the operation to provide ambulance and medical support.

GB Med Rescue paramedic Heyns De Waal said that the rescue operation became a body recovery operation instead.

"It was very sad," he said.

A helicopter landing pad was created and Mendes was brought out into a clearing of the reserve by chopper, while his parents waited.

The other three boys were not physically affected but received counselling at the scene.

News24's sister publication Netwerk24 reported that Claudio Mendes' parents were shocked to find out about his death on social media before they were informed officially.

Tributes for Mendes have been pouring in on social media.

His father, Danny Mendes, posted a picture, with the words: "This is my son...What a great person."

Co-b Wyngaard posted on Facebook: May you RIP Claudio Mendes. Way to early for you to leave this world. Your father Danny Mendes will always be proud of you. My sincerest condolences to the Mendes family! God bless! (sic)"

Juanita Malan-Hendricks added: "This is sad such a sweet person great personality.(sic)"span>

Mendes' death was recorded as the third in the Western Cape this year among hikers and climbers.

An inquest into the deaths of a guide and a woman on the rock face underneath the cableway on Table Mountain on New Year's Day is also currently under way. Another woman survived that accident.

Meanwhile, ER24 reported that two people were injured in two separate incidents on Lion's Head in Cape Town earlier on Thursday.

In the first incident, a paraglider broke his ankle after he tried to stop take off and fell backwards onto rocks.

Metro Rescue ALS, Mountain Rescue, and Table Mountain National Park mountain rescuers stabilised the 29-year-old man, before carrying him to the bottom of the trail.

ER24 transported the man to hospital for further medical care.

In the second incident, a 50-year-old man sustained moderate injuries after falling on Lion’s Head.

The man was stabilised on the mountain, before he was airlifted to a nearby location.

ER24 transported him to New Somerset Hospital for further treatment.

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