At 16h55 on Thursday the 9th of January, NSRI Hout Bay volunteer sea rescue duty crew were activated to assist the WC Government Health EMS in their rescue operation of three hikers stranded on the Karbonkelberg hiking trail between Hout Bay and Sandy Bay.
The Skymed helicopter had been activated and WC Government Health EMS resources, along with NSRI Hout Bay, were tasked to support the rescue operation. NSRI Hout Bay assisted with a sea rescue craft on the scene to act as spotter and an alternative back-up in the event the helicopter rescue effort could not be carried out due to worsening weather and failing light. NSRI crew prepared a LZ (Landing Zone) for the helicopter adjacent to the Sea Rescue base and the Sea Rescue station was used as a base for the operation.
It appears that the three hikers, from Meyerton Gauteng, Kobus Brits, 36, his girlfriend Cornelia Janse van Rensburg, 38, his brother Morne Brits, 33, had embarked on the hike at 13h00 from the Hout Bay side with no hiking provisions, water, food or warm clothing. They misjudged the difficulty of the hike and were unprepared for the changing conditions and tide.
From what they have told us; they reached the first gully during the incoming tide and successfully negotiated that section, but with the high tide, on reaching the second gully, could not proceed or retreat and opted to walk up the mountain until they could go no further. They then raised the alarm that they were in difficulty.
The Skymed helicopter hoisted an EMS rescue paramedic down to their position on a ledge 90 meters above sea level, and in sorties, first hoisted two hikers into the helicopter and took them to the NSRI sea rescue base and then the remaining hiker and EMS rescue paramedic were hoisted off the ledge and airlifted to the Sea Rescue base.
Family members were waiting for them at the Sea Rescue station and all the hikers required no further assistance.
NSRI urge coastal hikers to investigate their route and requirements thoroughly before embarking on coastal hiking trails.