WATCH: Textbook Berg rescue

2017-04-24 14:45
The helicopter hovered with only one wheel on a ledge to allow an injured hiker on board during the weekend’s airlift in the Berg.

The helicopter hovered with only one wheel on a ledge to allow an injured hiker on board during the weekend’s airlift in the Berg. (Supplied)

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An injured woman was successfully rescued from a cave in the Mweni pass in the southern Drakensberg on Sunday morning, after spending a night in subzero temperatures.

Magdalena Kleinhans from Bloemfontein in the Free State injured her ankle badly when she slipped on a rock during a hiking trip with six other people on Saturday afternoon.

Military doctor Dieter van der Westhuizen, who was also a part of the hiking party, said Kleinhans got hurt 16 to 18 km from where they parked their car.

“It would have been impossible for us to walk back so we decided to spend the night in a cave,” Van der Westhuizen said. He said they contacted the Mountain Club of South Africa for assistance while he treated her.

Van der Westhuizen said it was easy for them to call for help as there was an area with good reception close to where they were and they had all the necessary emergency contact details with them. He said they had been well prepared for the icy conditions as they carried warm sleeping bags and blankets.

He said they also had enough food and water on their hike and were well prepared for any eventuality.

The Mountain Club of South Africa contacted Warrant Officer Karl Gous from the Pietermaritzburg K9 search and rescue unit.

With the permission of the Pietermaritzburg K9 unit commander Lieutenant-Colonel Brain Oberholzer, Gous contacted the South African Air Force and submitted a request for them to assist with the rescue.

On Sunday morning Gous and Caesar da Carvalho from the Mountain Club accompanied by two air force pilots made their way to the Mweni cave aided by the GPS location.

When they got to the cave the chopper landed with one wheel on the edge and the other two wheels in the air.

This allowed Gous and Da Carvalho to disembark from the chopper to get to the injured Klienhans.

When they got to her they put their arms around her and carried her to the chopper.

Kleinhans said this was a breath-taking experience and the search and rescue team did a superb job.

“I am a very calm person so I was not scared,” she said.

Kleinhans praised the search and rescue unit for responding so quickly and getting to them.

She was treated for her torn ligament injury at St Anne’s Hospital and later discharged.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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