At 20h12 on Tuesday the 13th of August 2019 the Peninsula Wilderness Search And Rescue (WSAR) was activated after a caller reported that a party of two had found themselves disorientated while hiking on Table Mountain.
Via the WhatsApp platform the stricken party was able to provide a location pin, which could be used to determine their exact position. They were stranded between Maclear’s Beacon and the summit of Platteklip Gorge as a result of the low visibility due to the dense cloud that had moved in. The party was asked to stay put until a search team had arrived at their location. The steep drop offs close by were real safety concerns as well.
The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company (TMAC) was kind enough to assist the operation by reopening their service after closing for the day. A team of SANParks Visitor Safety Patrollers ascended the mountain via the Cable Car to reach the Upper Cable Station (UCS). From there the responding members hiked across to the reference point that was provided. The casualty hikers were quickly located and after a brief assessment, they were found to be in good health.
After a hike across to the UCS, all boarded a Cable Car back down.
WSAR would like to commend TMAC for their valuable support during this response.
Upper Cable Station Table Mountain
At 18h45 on Friday the 16th of August 2019 the Peninsula WSAR was contacted regarding a couple who was stranded and disorientated while hiking on Table Mountain. A team of SANParks Visitor Safety Patrollers were dispatched to climb Platteklip Gorge after a group of hikers who had missed the last Cable Car down from the Upper Cable Station (UCS), had called for assistance.
The unfortunate hikers were asked to slowly proceed in the direction of Platteklip Gorge from the UCS, after it was learnt that the Cable Car was unavailable. From there they were guided down the gorge via cellphone, while the Visitor Safety Patrollers were ascending the gorge. An hour later the two parties met up, and after a quick assessment, they were found to be tired but in good health.
The hikers were guided safely off the mountain by the responding team after which no further assistance was required.
At 09h07 on Saturday the 17th of August 2019 the Peninsula WSAR was alerted to a male hiker who had suffered an ankle injury while walking on the popular Lions’ Head trail.
SANParks Visitor Safety Patrollers were asked to respond to lend assistance to the casualty. The patient was found along the section of the route which overlooks the Clifton area. The SANParks crew managed to aid the hiker lower down to the jeep track and on to the Signal Hill road at the start of the trail.
No further assistance was required and WSAR wishes the gentleman a speedy recovery.
At 10h36 on Saturday the 17th of August 2019 the Peninsula WSAR was activated after a gentleman sustained injuries as a result of a fall near Maclear’s Beacon.
SANParks Visitor Safety Patrollers were first on scene. They had made their way towards the location of the patient after reaching the Upper Cable Station via the Cable Car. Metro Medical Rescue Technicians and Rescue Mountaineers followed to lend assistance. The patient’s condition was such that he needed to be carried in a stretcher to the UCS. The Cable Car was used to deliver the patient and the rescue party to the Lower Cable Station, where they we met by a waiting ambulance crew who transported the injured hiker to a medical facility for further treatment.
WSAR wishes the gentleman a speedy recovery.
Newlands Forest Table Mountain
At 11h46 on Sunday the 18th of August 2019 the Peninsula WSAR was activated after a caller reported that a male hiker had sustained a knee injury while hiking in Newlands Forest.
A team of Metro Medical Rescue Technicians who responded in a rescue 4×4 vehicle was able to drive close to the scene of the accident. After administering treatment and immobilising the leg, the injured hiker was driven down to the Newlands forest Station.
The gentleman who did not require any further assistance left via private transport. WSAR wishes him a speedy recovery.
Helderberg Nature Reserve Somerset West
At 13h32 on Sunday the 18th of August 2019 the Winelands WSAR was activated after a call was received regarding an elderly female who had suffered an ankle injury.
The injured person was a member of the public who was enjoying a walk in the nature reserve. A participant in a trail run event that was being staged at the time, alerted the race organisers of the accident after coming across the lady. Amongst the support marshals who were manning the race, were members of the Winelands WSAR unit. They were able to dispatch a team consisting of a Medic as well as Rescue Mountaineers to the location of the incident.
After the initial assessment was done, it was discovered that the injuries to her leg were of a more serious nature. The assistance of the Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) was requested, and arrived at the scene shortly afterwards. The patient who was packaged into a stretcher was flown to a nearby emergency Landing Zone where she was again examined by the rescue crew. The casualty chose private transport to drive her to a medical facility for further treatment
WSAR wishes the lady a speedy recovery.
At 16h24 on Sunday the 18th of August 2019 the Peninsula WSAR was contacted after a climber became stuck on a ledge below the Upper Cable Station.
Metro Medical Rescue Technicians and Rescue Climbers were asked to respond to the Lower Cable Station (LCS). The climbing party was asked to remain safe and with the stricken climber who had experienced difficulties. The rescue team made their way towards the climbers after reaching the Upper Cable Station (UCS) via the Cable Car.
Once all parties were safely off the cliff face, they walked to the UCS from where they descended the mountain in the Cable Car.
No further assistance was required.
WSAR commends the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company for extending their service beyond the normal operating hours in order to accommodate rescue response.
At 16h20 on Monday the 19th of August 2019 the Peninsula WSAR was asked to come to the assistance of an injured female hiker on Devil’s Peak. The lone casualty hiker was discovered by chance when a male trail runner happened to pass the scene of the accident. He was responsible for the emergency call. There was a communication challenge, since the trail runner who was German speaking, was unable to draw information from the injured lady. The extent of her injuries also resulted in her not being able to speak.
Metro Medical Rescue Technicians, Rescue Mountaineers, SANParks Visitor Safety Patrollers as well as logistical support crew were activated to Tafelberg road on Table Mountain. In the meantime, the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) was requested.
When the Helicopter arrived at Devil’s Peak it proceeded to insert a Metro Medical Rescue Technician as well as a Rescue Climber. The patient who was in a critical condition was promptly packaged, hoisted into the Helicopter and delivered to a nearby emergency Landing Zone. Here she was handed to a waiting ambulance who transported her to a medical facility for further treatment.
WSAR wishes the hiker a speedy recovery.
At 19h38 on Monday the 19th of August 2019 the Peninsula WSAR received a call from one of the Rescue Mountaineers who happened to be descending Lion’s Head at the time. She and her party had come across an injured hiker who was painfully struggling down the trail.
Metro Medical Rescue Technicians, SAPS, SANParks Visitor Safety Patrollers, Rescue Mountaineers as well as Logistical support crew responded to assist. The scene of the incident which was below the second paraglider launch site was quite busy as a result of the monthly full moon hikers. The casualty who was a 35 year old female Brazilian tourist was placed in a stretcher and carried down the path to where it meets up with the jeep track. There she was placed into a 4×4 vehicle and driven down the gravel to the start of the trail at Signal Hill road.
After no further assistance was required, the tourist left via private transport.
WSAR wishes the lady a speedy recovery.
- The Air Mercy Service (AMS) is contracted to the Western Cape Department of Health to provide Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS)
- The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company (TMAC) kindly assists WSAR during rescue operations when requested.
WSAR urges the public to please:-
- not hike or trail run on your own
- concentrate while descending a path as most knee and ankle injuries occur during this stage
- save the emergency numbers on your cellphone
- learn how to use the location pin feature on your smartphone
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.