Cape Town - Three search and rescue volunteers were robbed at gunpoint on Lion’s Head on Sunday in the latest crime incident in Table Mountain National Park.
In the last two months, more than 20 such incidents have been reported.
Police spokesperson Wesley Twigg said the suspects were yet to be apprehended. Mike Muller, chairperson of South African Rescue South Africa (Sarza), said the armed robbery was carried out just after 8.20pm on Sunday following the rescue of an injured hiker on Lion’s Head.
The hiker had sustained a leg injury and Wilderness Search and Rescue members had been activated, he said.
The team began walking down the trail towards the car park and met a man they believed could also be in danger.
Muller said: “The man thanked them for the information and acknowledged them for being part of a search and rescue team.
“As he passed the group, the man brandished a firearm and robbed the team of their belongings, including backpacks containing clothing and rescue equipment, their personal cellphones and their smart watches.
“The Sarza family is deeply shocked by this attack on volunteer rescue personnel, the first of its kind in the Cape, as far as we are aware.
“We are thankful that our team members were unharmed.”
The victims said they were grateful to be alive. “They never said rescue life would be easy; this is just the world we live in,” said one of the volunteers who was robbed.
“This was thankfully a minor incident and a big eye-opener.”
Earlier this month, amid the surge in crime on Table Mountain, more than 250 community members, security groups, and government officials discussed proactive measures for mountain safety.
Blake Dyason, the founder of Love Our Trails, said the solution was community involvement in assisting law enforcement by being their “eyes and ears”.