Hiker breaks leg trying to escape muggers


IOL  ct FL Mugging2

Gwen Rea

A hiker is loaded into a Metro Rescue vehicle after breaking a leg while being mugged near the Kings Blockhouse. Picture: Gwen Rea

A hiker has been rescued after breaking his leg while trying to escape from two muggers between Rhodes Memorial and the Mowbray hiking trail.

The 23-year-old from Rondebosch was walking with two other men between Devil’s Peak and the Rhodes Memorial path when they were accosted by two men yesterday morning.

“They were threatened verbally by the two (men),” said police spokesman Andre Traut.

“The hikers ran down the mountain trying to escape the suspects, and one of them fell and was injured.”

The two men, who were not armed, went over to the injured hiker and stole his backpack, a cellphone and money.

Another of the hikers stumbled and rolled into bushes, while the third got away.

Metro Rescue spokesman Alistair Christians said while the injured hiker was being removed by stretcher, the other emerged from the bushes where he had been hiding and told rescuers he had been with the injured man when the two men accosted them.

Police had yet to arrest the thieves, Traut said.

Christians said they reached the injured hiker at noon and completed the rescue at 2.10pm.

“We knew exactly where to go because the SANParks rangers patrolling the mountain found the guy lying in a ditch.

“The man was stable with only a fractured lower leg, while one managed to run away and another walked away with minor scratches.”

Christians said the King’s Blockhouse area between Devil’s Peak and Rhodes Memorial was known for the high number of attacks there.

Gwen Rea, who was taking photographs in the area when she saw two men running from Rhodes Memorial, said she had seen men sprinting down the mountain towards the road.

“I thought they were joggers, they looked strong, big and not poorly dressed, but they caught my attention in a weird way.”

Rea said she had spoken to one of the people with the hikers and told them what she had seen.

She concluded the men she had seen were probably the two muggers.

Two months ago, Claudio Massenz, 26, had to cancel an overseas trip after receiving serious head injuries in a mugging above Rhodes Memorial.

His skull was fractured in the attack.

According to Table Mountain Safety Action Group spokesman Andre Van Schalkwyk, there have been 11 attacks in the Rhodes Memorial area this year.

He said that seven assaults had taken place in the past five months.

“We have had more incidents this year compared with last year, despite the establishment of the safety campaign.

“We are not winning the war.” Van Schalkwyk said that not enough was being done to warn people who went hiking on the mountain.

“Our main concern is that Table Mountain National Park is not giving us the information about these incidents so that we can warn people about attacks on the mountain,” Van Schalkwyk said.

Yesterday, the @TableMntnWatch service on Twitter advised people to avoid the upper areas in Newlands Forest, King’s Blockhouse and the Tafelberg extension.

The two thieves had not been caught by last night. - Cape Times

barbara.maregele@inl.co.za


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