Unlike so many missing person stories which usually end in tears, last week’s search for Massimo Filante (29), a Hout Bay resident, resulted in him being reunited with his concerned mother.
Filante left his Hout Bay residence on Wednesday 25 August at 13:00.
He was meant to catch the MyCiTi bus towards the V&A Waterfront and was expected to be back home later that day.
When Filante, who suffers from social anxiety, failed to return, his mother, who knew it was not in his character to stay away from home, contacted the police and local security service providers (SSPs).
A subsequent search of both Hout Bay and Camps Bay, however, offered up no clues as to his whereabouts.
Desperate to locate her son, the mother contacted Community Crime Prevention (CCP), a Hout Bay non-profit company (NPC), on Thursday 26 August, informing them of Filante’s disappearance.
Keri Cross, director of CCP, says they immediately sent out a broadcast message through Buzzer, a free community safety app, alerting the community and asking them to be on the lookout for Filante.
“Buzzer has been used with great success in and around Cape Town and has helped numerous times in the search for missing people, the catching and arresting of criminals and many other high-stake situations,” Cross explains.
CCP rallied, requesting security footage from various sources to determine where Filante was seen last. It was found that he had left his home and had gotten on a MyCiTi bus. Ward 74 councillor and Mayco member for transport, Rob Quintas, then got involved and tried to attain camera footage from the bus.
“In the meantime, CCP alerted Atlantic Seaboard SSPs, police, metro police and contacted the V&A Waterfront to start searching their cameras,” says Cross.
The footage came through from Table Mountain Aerial Cableway (TMAC) of a person, fitting Filante’s description, stuck on Table Mountain.
While the cableway staff and management monitored the CCTV feed, trail runner Armand du Plessis ran up to the top of the mountain to let Filante know that help was on the way.
Having given him something warm to wear and something to eat and drink, Du Plessis stayed with Filante while Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR), SANParks and metro rescue made their way up to retrieve him. As bad luck would have it, Cape Town was experiencing a “severe storm” at the time.
John Marais, the WSAR spokesperson, said although they had reached him, the weather conditions did not allow them to make their way back down.
The decision was made to spend the night with Filante at the Upper Cable Station on Table Mountain.
Filante was reunited with his mother on Friday morning (27 August).
Cross explains that CCP is unique in the sense that the NCP works with all SSPs, police and emergency response units, both private and government.
“Due to our broad network and the relationships we have formed, all organisations were able to pull together to help bring Massimo home,” she says.