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Possible tragedy avoided by ...
MCSA rescue at Castle Gorge

The Johannesburg Hiking Club will endeavour to put in additional safety measures to avoid this type of accident.

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Hereunder follows a letter from the Malcolm family and their attitude towards hiking in the future.

28 April: I assure you that while a lesson was learnt it will in no way impact our love of hiking. The intention was to familiarise ourselves with the venue to assist with the patrolling and we have every intention to go ahead with the patrolling. We will, however, not go swimming in the same pool again I am sure.

  13 April: On Sunday 09 April 2006 my family and I joined the Johannesburg Hiking Club for an organised hike at Castle Gorge.  What started out as a fun outing for the family became a very difficult and worrying situation when my son attempted to retrieve his hat from one of the pools below a waterfall.  While there was not a major drop to the pool below various attempts to pull him out were in vain.  Due to what can only be described as a small miracle, there were members of the MCSA climbing nearby.  This was extremely fortuitous, as without being melodramatic the late afternoon cold weather with a light breeze together with the low water temperature meant that hypothermia was a serious concern.  The response from the MCSA team was incredible with Allan & Pablo setting everything up above (where we were) in order to do the rescue.  They were fantastic and we had complete confidence that everything was under control at all times and it was just a matter of time before our son was rescued.  Unfortunately as is so often the case there was also a team of unnamed heroes (and I do not mean this lightly) down below and I apologise that I cannot mention them each by name.  Their contribution to the rescue was greatly appreciated, particularly the care and concern that my son received when he got down to safety (they even took the time to rescue his hat).


While there were also numerous JHC members who offered their support a special note of thanks needs to go to Sue, Francis and Ken who, despite a serious storm brewing, were there to the end. Their concern, moral support and first aid in the form of a “bucket” of tea were wonderful. It was a difficult situation and we were grateful to you all for being there to help us. (Matthew was particularly impressed by Sue’s ability to whip up a cup of tea at a moments notice; with a choice of Rooibos or Five Roses no less!). We felt really bad when the delay resulted in everyone having to walk back in the pouring rain with the proximity of the lightning being a little nerve-racking (you don’t want to be hiking on the top of a mountain during a thunder storm). However, we fortunately all made it down safely.

Our thanks and appreciation go to all the people who assisted us.

Jeremy, Chesca, Jonathan & Matthew