ER2 rescuing a man that fell onto Kloof gorge.Picture Zanele Zulu.02/02/2013

Durban -

A Gauteng man fell 80m down a cliff at the Krantzkloof Nature Reserve on Monday night, but survived after landing on a soft spot on a rocky ledge.

Rescuers worked for three hours by torchlight to reach the injured 51-year-old man, who was hauled up to another ledge using ropes.

From there he was hoisted to the top of the cliff on a stretcher while his rescuers tried to avoid trees and shrubs protruding from the cliff face.

Tricia Stoole, marketing manager at Hillcrest Private Hospital, said on Tuesday morning that the man was in a stable condition in the intensive care unit. He had suffered fractured ribs, a fractured femur and a dislocated hip.

According to two teenage girls who witnessed the incident, the man had driven his silver Mercedes-Benz into the car park at Kloof Gorge and then got out.

A source at the scene said the girls had been admiring the view of the gorge when the man threw his keys to them and said they should give them to his friend.

Sensing something was amiss, one of the girls tried to stop him as he headed for the cliff edge but he pushed her away.

The man apparently leapt off the cliff and the shocked girls alerted a member of the SA CAN community neighbourhood watch who then alerted police. Ezemvelo rangers were called to the scene and led rescuers to a ledge where they spotted the man below.

The rescuers made verbal contact with the man.

A police search and rescue crew, ER24 paramedics and Rescue Tech staff came up with a plan to get to him to assess his medical condition. A team of rescuers found him wedged on a ledge. He had apparently landed on a soft spot.

Members of SA CAN assisted police in locating his next-of-kin through a cellphone and car phone. Police traced numbers of previous calls made and managed to locate his relative.

While police found alcohol in his car, the man was not intoxicated.

The girls who witnessed the incident underwent trauma counselling by SA CAN members.

A signboard in the parking lot warns people that it is an unprotected view site and the path leads to unfenced view points.

Daily News