The two missing men were found by the Skymed rescue helicopter at approximately 08h10 today approximately 1.5 miles into the Salt Rock part of the Natures Valley trail, off course of their intended route..
They have been airlifted to safety.
Plettenberg Bay Mountain Rescue Club members assisted with their being hoisted into the Skymed rescue helicopter and they were flown to the Joint Operations Command Centre (JOCC) that had been set up at the Forest Hall Platform in natures Valley.
It appears, from their reports, that the two men may have missed a turning while hiking along a path on the hiking trail causing them to walk into a barely accessible area of the Salt River vicinity, Natures Valley, and they may have lost their way.
When night fell they bunkered down for the night rather than attempting to negotiate the unfamiliar terrain in the dark. They were able to make a fire, remained in good spirits and they slept.
They were spotted from the air by the Skymed rescue helicopter during the ongoing search this morning.
Yolann de Boeve’, 24, from Belgium, and Kwangnam Kim, 33, from South Korea, are both on an approximately months holiday in South Africa. (ages were initially incorrect in the original media release).
They were found in good spirits, a bit hungry, with a few minor scratches and bruises, but are otherwise not injured.
The rescue team is transporting them back to the backpackers lodge where they are staying while on holiday.
Staff of the Wild Spirit Backpackers Lodge, at The Crags, Natures Valley, Plettenberg Bay, are commended for raising the alarm early after their two guests failed to meet pre-arranged deadlines resulting in the ability of the joint rescue teams to quickly formulate the extensive search and rescue operation that resulted in the successful outcome.
NATURES VALLEY, PLETTENBERG BAY – Saturday, 07th September, 2013.
At approximately 18h00 (Friday, 06th September) NSRI Plettenberg Bay volunteer sea rescue duty crew were activated following reports from a local back-packers lodge of two guests who had failed to return as scheduled from a day hike. The two men, believed to be a 22 year old Belgian and a 25 year old South Korean, had been dropped off by vehicle (by lodge staff) to hike Natures Valley towards Salt River (Natures Valley, Plettenberg Bay) and their expected return time was roughly 14h00 but when they failed to arrive for dinner, as pre-arranged, by 18h00 the alarm was raised by the lodge staff following the concern that their continuing absence could mean that they may be in difficulty.
NSRI Plettenberg Bay and the Plettenberg Bay Mountain Rescue Club members launched a search and rescue party to search along the hiking trail. Nothing had been found by midnight and the search and rescue was suspended for rescue teams to rest and replenish. By this morning (Saturday, 07th September) the two men remain missing. It is not known what has caused the two men to fail to return from their hike as scheduled.
This morning, from first light, NSRI Plettenberg Bay and the Plettenberg Bay Mountain Rescue Club are joined by WC Government Health EMS, SA Police Services and the Red Cross AMS Skymed rescue helicopter. NSRI Plettenberg Bay have also launched sea rescue craft and are searching along the coast (along the area of the hiking trail) while search and rescue teams have resumed a land search and an air search is being conducted by the Skymed rescue helicopter. Updates will follow.