A HIKE on Table Mountain ended in tragedy when a Rondebosch teenager fell more than 60m to his death in Newlands Forest yesterday.
Late last night rescuers were trying to retrieve the body of 19-year-old Ilan Blecher from an inaccessible part of the mountain.
“The body of a young male was found on the upper side of Newlands Forest. He fell 60m to 70m. Rescue services are working on retrieving the body which is in a difficult area of the mountain,” police spokesman FC Van Wyk said.
While friends of the teenager identified Blecher and said he was the son of a Rondebosch doctor, Van Wyk said: “We will not release the identity of the person until the body has been identified by the family.”
Table Mountain National Park spokeswoman Merle Collins said: “As far as we know there were two brothers who went for a hike on the mountain on Sunday. At the Stone Fountain bridge they parted ways. One brother turned back and the other, a 19-year-old, went further, but did not return.
“We were alerted at about noon. His body was found later the afternoon,” she said.
EMS spokeswoman Angelique Jordaan said: “The family of the missing hiker would need to positively identify the body to verify whether it is in fact the missing hiker.”
She said they had sent a rescue party after Blecher’s father raised the alarm when he did not return home.
“The search party combed
the area and the three possible routes the missing hiker could have taken. A body matching the description of the missing hiker was found,” she said.
Jordaan said the search party included South African National Parks rangers, the police K9 unit, Peninsula Mountain Club and other volunteers.
A Skymed helicopter had to be withdrawn because of bad weather, she said.
Wilderness Search and Rescue spokesman Anwaaz Bent said: “The body is quite high up the mountain in a very tricky area. The body was found about 4.30pm and the search team of 18 rescuers and medics went up there.
“It is obviously quite an emotional experience for the young man’s family and friends who gathered at Newlands Forest.”
A friend of Blecher’s, who declined to be named, said: “Ilan was very close to nature and he had great honesty. When you spent time with him he never stopped smiling. He will never be forgotten. He was a brother to everyone and was everyone’s friend.”
Blecher’s family could not be reached last night.