At 15h48 on Saturday the 8th of June 2019 the Peninsula Wilderness Search And Rescue (WSAR) was activated after a call was received concerning a party who had found themselves off route and in an unsafe position while hiking on Table Mountain.
Metro Medical Rescue Technicians, Rescue Mountaineers and Logistical support crew were dispatched to the base of the Platteklip Gorge hiking trail at Tafelberg road. The party from the USA consisted of a husband, wife and their 7 month old baby. They had become stuck after taking a wrong turn approximately halfway up the gorge during their ascent. WSAR Rescue Climbers who happened to be at the top of Table Mountain at the time, were diverted to descend the gorge in order to locate the stricken party.
In the meantime, a team of responders who were making their way to the Upper Cable Station (UCS) in the Cable Car, spotted two ill equipped hikers below in India Venster who appeared to be lost and moving slowly. On arrival at the UCS the responders were met by 3 Chinese visitors who claimed to be friends of the two struggling hikers. They had split up earlier in the afternoon, and were now requesting assistance as well. Two of the responders proceeded down Fountain Ravine and on to India Venster in order to reach the casualty hikers.
By this time the party from the USA was located and assisted after complaining of dehydration as well. The rescuers brought them back on to the Platteklip Gorge path where they continued up the route and then across to the UCS where they boarded the Cable Car for the descent. By then the WSAR team had reached the struggling hikers in India Venster, and after offering them sustenance, they too were guided to the top of Table Mountain towards the UCS for a Cable Car ride down.
None of these visitors required further assistance, and they were able to return to their accommodation on their own. During the subsequent debrief of this response, WSAR was again directed to Platteklip Gorge after it was learnt that three hikers were overdue while descending the route.
It was after sunset when the Rescue Mountaineers began walking up the trail from Tafelberg road that they came across the party in question. One female who was severely exhausted required minor attention after being assisted down to the Metro Rescue vehicle. She was deemed well enough to leave for home via private transport.
WSAR would once again like to thank the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway (TMAC) for their on going support and service to the public during rescue operations.
WSAR urges the public to please:-
- plan you route according to the fitness levels of the members in your party
- rather commence hiking earlier in the day to give your party ample time to complete the intended route
- carry at least two liters of water per person when out on the mountain
WSAR is a volunteer based organisation.
Call 021 937 0300 or 112 for any wilderness or mountain rescue response.
In association with the Western Cape Emergency Medical Services.
WSAR is a member of the International Commission of Alpine Rescue.