John Nicholas, NSRI Port Edward station commander, said: During the late afternoon, Sunday, 19th February, the two hikers, Dr Corne van Rensburg (from Amanzimtoti) and Pastor Wille Henning (from Port Edward) both aged 66, were found safe.
An extensive search operation including NSRI Port Edward, Ezemvelo Kwa-Zulu Wildlife Park rangers, Police Search and Rescue, SA Police Services, Medivac ambulance services, GP Security, Balito Specialised Search and Rescue, local farmers and Port Edward Rate Payers Association.
Despite an extensive search operation, in heavy rains and mist, no sign of the men could be found although briefly having contact with them by cellphone during this morning before their cellphones batteries died.
During the afternoon the weather lifted for half an hour and local pilot, Dean Riley, volunteered his helicopter to assist in the search. Flying over an area where we thought they may they were spotted in a barely accessible area, well off the hiking trail. Dean picked them up in his helicopter.
They have told us that during their hike it got very humid and hot and they left the trail to go and swim but then the weather changed and, in thick mist and heavy rains, they never found the hiking trail until being rescued.
They were not injured.
All services and everyone involved are commended for the massive community effort.
PORT EDWARD: (original media release…)
John Nicholas, NSRI Port Edward station commander, said:
At 20h13, Saturday, 18th February, an NSRI Port Edward rescue team joined the Police Search and Rescue, GB Med Security, local farmers and the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Park rangers searching for 2 men, a doctor from Amanzimtoti and a Pastor from Durban, overdue from a hike at the Umtamvuna Nature Reserve and believed to have been on the one of the “Long Walk” trails and expected back at around 16h00 but failing to return family grew concerned and raised the alarm.
An extensive search throughout the night revealed no sign of the 2 men and the search continued from first light with a Police K-9 Search and Rescue team joining in the search.
During Sunday morning communications by cellphone was established with the 2 hikers confirming that they were safe but lost while hiking the Nkonka Trail in thick mist and rain after losing the trail in thick mist and rain and nightfall while on the trail and slow progress because of weather.
The search party continues the search. This is a developing story.
TO REPORT A SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY DIAL 112 FROM A CELLPHONE