Missing UCT hiker to spend another night in the mountains

SANDF Oryx helicopter (Picture: Supplied)
SANDF Oryx helicopter (Picture: Supplied)

Cape Town - A University of Cape Town student who went missing on Sunday when he fell behind during a group hike in the Waters Mountains near Ceres will have to spend another night in the mountain, Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR) says.

WSAR spokesperson Johann Marais said although rescue services knew where the hiker was situated, it was "almost impossible" to rescue him under present conditions.

The organisation was alerted to the missing hiker on Wednesday evening. The group of UCT students had gone hiking on Sunday. When the group realised one of them was missing, they decided to return to the mountain on Monday to search for their friend. They did not find him.

Due to the lack of network coverage in the area, one of the group members decided to look for help.

"He reached the Mitchells Pass R46 road leading to Ceres around 16:00 this afternoon [Wednesday]," Marais said.

"The AMS helicopter was authorised and flew to the area with a person who knows the area well. They found the missing hiker apparently unhurt in a deep kloof from where it is almost impossible to climb out unless you are an experienced rock climber and with assistance."

The strong down drafts against the mountain cliffs made flying dangerous, Marais said.

"The pilot decided against even attempting to extricate the hiker... We have authorisation to use an Oryx helicopter tomorrow [Thursday]. The Oryx is a twin engine and much more powerful helicopter which should be able to fly into the mountains."

The hiker would have to spend his fourth night on the mountain.

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