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.