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Mountain rescuers spurred into action as summer starts

AMS helicopter crew prepares to hoist an injured hiker in Camps Bay. Picture: WSAR volunteer

AMS helicopter crew prepares to hoist an injured hiker in Camps Bay. Picture: WSAR volunteer

Published Oct 25, 2023


Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR) has cautioned outdoor enthusiasts against the expected summer conditions, as they responded to a surge of distress calls at the weekend.

In one incident on Sunday, a small team onboard the Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness EMS / Air Mercy Service (AMS) rescue helicopter was flown to Hoogekraal Farm near Durbanville after a mountain biker fell and injured himself.

The 48 year old was descending Cobra, Hoogekraal’s most technical mountain biking track when he fell.

According to Trailforks, the trail is rated as “black diamond" and is revered for its tight switchbacks, rock gardens and a tricky rock slab into a tight corner.

“A call for help was made to the emergency number – 021 937 0300.

“The rescue team were hoisted down to a point close to the injured mountain biker.

“He was assessed and treated by a paramedic before being placed onto a stretcher and hoisted up into the helicopter.

“He was flown to a nearby landing zone and transferred to an ambulance. The incident was concluded at 3:26pm,” said WSAR.

Meanwhile, another team was dispatched to Theresa Avenue above Camps Bay, responding to a distress call from a hiking group on the Porcupine Anvil route.

A 45-year-old hiker had suffered a back injury.

Swift and sure-footed, the rescuers reached the group, finding them already stabilising the hiker.

The team assisted the group back down the trail and the hiker was driven home.

WSAR spokesperson, David Nel, said:“We’ve seen an increase in the number of calls in the past two weeks. We want to remind everyone that some sections of the trails may still be wet, slippery, and damaged, and we urge everyone to take care. Most importantly, make sure that you have the correct emergency number saved to you phone – 021 937 030. We would like to wish both patients a speedy recovery.”

Donations to support the work of WSAR can be made via the Back-A-Buddy platform -

Cape Times