Western Cape drone rescues another hiker

Another day; another person rescued thanks to the drone unit at the Western Cape EMS in South Africa.

Maybe opening up a page on this website strictly dedicated to the exploits of the Western Cape Government Health’s Emergency Medical Services’ drone team is not such a bad idea.

Maybe we should – even if it will be for the sole reason of reminding the people who sat on the provincial health department’s application for an RPAS operator’s licence of how many lives they might have saved had they not waited until only December last year to issue that licence.

Because one of the drone unit’s DJI Matrice 210s has gone and done it again; this time locating and leading the rescue of a woman who had lost her way while hiking in Helderberg Nature Reserve.

The 398-hectare Helderberg Nature Reserve is located on the southern slopes of the Helderberg mountains in Somerset West, about 45 kilometres to the east of Cape Town CBD in South Africa.

The drone completed another rescue mission. Picture: Western Cape EMS

“The Western Cape Government Health’s Emergency Medical Services’ Drone team was dispatched at 15:00 on Tuesday, 2 March to assist with a rescue call at the Helderberg Nature Reserve, after being requested for assistance by the Mountain Club of South Africa (MCSA) – Hottentots Hollands,” said the department’s communications officer, Deanna Bessick. “A young woman was lost in the West Peak area. The team arrived at the Protea Farm and relocated to opposite side of the West Peak area where the patient was.

“The drone was flown up the mountain, and the woman was soon located.”

Immediately after the drone pinpointed the woman’s location, the EMS pilot worked with the MCSA, Winelands Peninsula Search and Rescue in guiding the on-foot rescuers to her location in speedy time.

The woman was found unharmed, and she was taken down to Protea Farm where medical services were waiting to help her further.

Johan Marais, spokesperson for Wilderness Search and Rescue, a joint rescue operations initiative comprising provincial and municipal EMS, as well as volunteer rescue organisations in the Western Cape province, said the rescue operation took approximately three hours.

“She was lost, although she could see the town and so forth, but she was in a place where she was unable to proceed up or down, nor left or right, without assistance,” Marais said, adding that the woman was close to the mountain peak. “The team went to her and assisted her back down to safer ground, and walked her down to a place where the vehicles were able to get to her,” said Marius.

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