Rescue – Landroskloof – 12 November 2016

Saturday 12 November was the turn of this years 6th group of grade 9 scholars from Somerset College to hike the Landroskloof section of the annual Somerset Trek.  Each year, members of the HH section of the Mountain Club of South Africa accompany the learners on this section of their adventure.  On Saturday, Johann Wiid ZS1JHW, was one of the two rescue team members accompanying the group.

The group departed the MCSA Johnson Hut at around 7am in cool conditions.  About two and a half hours into the hike, one of the learners sustained a knee injury that prevented her from continuing or turning back.  The standard rescue plan was immediately activated by the two rescuers with the group.  Luckily the group was still about 300m below the cloud level and so, after consultation with the EMS rescue manager on duty, the AMS Skymed rescue helicopter was recalled from and air-sea rescue exercise in Melkbosstrand and dispatched to the scene.  Paul ZS1V responded to the WSAR callout sent by Johann ZS1JM, and secured a landing zone for the helicopter near the gates of the Vergelegen farm.

A technical rescuer and a paramedic were hoisted down to the patient.  After consultation between Paul and Skymed, the LZ was moved to the Helderberg Nature Reserve.  This is further away from the scene, but more familiar to the helicopter crew.   

Since the weather was worsening, the remainder of the group of 20 hikers turned around and proceeded back down to the Johnson Hut.  Unfortunately, a second hiker suffered an ankle injury on the way back down.  After the first patient was extracted, the technical rescuer and paramedic were relocated lower down the kloof to prepare the second casualty for extraction.

The second patient, paramedic and technical rescuer were all subsequently extracted to the Helderberg Nature Reserve and a waiting ambulance transported the casualties to hospital.  Standdown at 13.00.

Rescue – Newlands Ravine 13 November 2016

At 18h02 a callout to Newlands Ravine to assist a party of 3 stuck on a ledge was issued. I (Phil – ZS1VCC) was activated at 18h14 for logistics/comms support.

Upon my arrival in Newlands forest at ±19h00, I located Metro1 but all 3 Metro rescue technicians had deployed into the mountain as a hasty team. With permission from the Metro rescuers (obtained via the radio), I proceeded to open and setup Metro 1 and established comms with the team. I was joined by the MCSA field manager a little while later, and soon thereafter by additional MCSA and HN members. The hasty team located the party at 19:43, and by 19h50 had completed their assessment, indicating no injuries and that no additional assistance was required. They proceeded to walk the patients down (which was actually a party of 4, 3 males + 1 female aged 18-19 yrs). The party was met by myself at the entrance to the contour path hiking trail, and transported down to Metro1 with the additional assistance of the Metro bakkie. All teams were logged back in at 21h42 and debriefed. Patients were collected by parent(s).

The rescue was attended by HAMNET, MCSA, HN and SANParks personnel, and additional support was provided by NCC duty members at the forestry station.

Report compiled by Phil Van Den Bossche