Woman recovering after 10-metre tumble down cliff

2019-05-20 17:09
Rescue workers at the Umgeni Nature Reserve attending to Nicolette Boucher.

Rescue workers at the Umgeni Nature Reserve attending to Nicolette Boucher.

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A young woman had a close call when she fell down a 10-metre cliff at the Umgeni Nature Reserve near Howick on Saturday.

Nicolette Boucher (24) also rolled a further 45 metres down a grass slope. Although she is still in hospital recovering, she has no fractures, her brother Carlson said on Sunday.

He said that he, his girlfriend, sister and another friend arrived at the reserve at about 11 am. They decided to do the Black Eagle Trail. As they walked and took in the beautiful surrounds, he identified a hazardous area that had a hole and was slippery.

Leading the trail, Carlson said he told the others to be careful.

He said that he thinks his sister lost her balance at the spot.

“She went head first down the cliff. She was screaming, tumbling and rolling down the cliff. We were shocked,” he said.

When she stopped rolling, and he had heard her voice, he went to get help while his girlfriend, a nurse, carefully went down the cliff.

He said his girlfriend wanted to make sure his sister had no spinal injuries. Help then arrived at about 12.15 pm.

Speaking from her hospital bed on Sunday, a groggy Boucher said: “I am very sore. I feel like I was hit by a bus. But I can tell I am going to get better.”


Nicolette Boucher.

She said doctors and nurses have told her it is a miracle she has no fractures after the high fall.

“I believe that Jehovah [God] was there protecting me when I fell. I am a firm believer in Jehovah and I believe he helped me escape this traumatic experience with just minor injuries.”

Spokesperson for the Mountain Club of South Africa, Steve Cooke, said that the team responded to two separate rescue incidents on Saturday, at the valley and at Sentinel Peak, Northern Drakensberg.

He said that the team, assisted by the SAPS Search and Rescue and Netcare 911, used ropes to gain access to Boucher and provide medical attention.

“While the patient was being stabilised and moved onto a mountain rescue stretcher, the team then set up a high angle rope rescue system to raise her up the slope and cliff to the path. Thereafter, she was carried back to the road where she was evacuated by a medical rescue helicopter and flown to St Anne’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg,” he said.

In the Northern Drakensberg, a 57-year-old German tourist was hiking with her husband on the chain ladder route returning to the Witsieshoek car park, when she slipped and fell off the path down a steep rock slab. She landed on a small grass band below another rock slab.

Because it was late, a Drakensberg- based private helicopter was requested to assist, which was made possible by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, said Cooke.

The woman, who sustained multiple injuries, was taken to hospital.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  accident

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