Around 16:50 today WSAR’s duty rescue manager received a call after a City of Cape Town ranger had fallen in the vicinity of Steenbras Peak, south of Gordon’s Bay. He had injured his right lower leg causing a deep cut which was bleeding profusely. A medic gave some advice over the phone and they managed to stop the bleeding with his sock.
The AMS helicopter had become available minutes before the call came in and authorisation was immediately sought to use it for this case. In the mean time field operatives were alerted to be on stand by. Before 17:00 authorisation was obtained to use Skymed and the waypoint where the ranger had fallen was sent to the helicopter crew. In the mean time a few first responders were instructed to rendezvous at the Gordon’s Bay naval base after permission had been obtained from the duty officer to use the well lit landing zone of the base. It was also chosen as Skymed uses it for exercises and actual rescues which they do in conjunction with the NSRI.
With daylight failing fast the crew in the helicopter had their task cut out to find the fallen ranger with two others assisting him. The waypoint provided by one of the cellphones in the group assisted tremendously. It was dark by the time they found them, dropped a technical rescuer who could secure the injured person into proper webbing so that they could be hoisted back into the hovering helicopter.
Shortly before 19:00 the 44year old male patient was dropped off at the naval base and taken to Mediclinic Vergelegen hospital by a waiting ambulance. The naval base had a full fire team and equipment ready to be used in case something went wrong with the landing of the helicopter. Skymed did not shutdown to participate in the debrief as it needed to get back to base soonest. After a debrief, expressing our appreciation to the officer in charge of the naval base we stood down all our members. The persons in charge only left the scene once they had ensured that the other rangers had safely reached their vehicle and every one was safely off the mountain.
copyright photo by R. Nel.