DURBAN – A group of desperate hikers lost in the Drakensberg were found within hours through new geo-location technology.
Today Netcare 911 confirmed that consultant Angela Roughley at their emergency operations centre in Midrand received a distress call from a group of 20 hikers who had been hiking from the Cathedral Peak Hotel on March 23.
Centre head, FG Kloppers said, “The hikers reported that they were freezing cold and had absolutely no idea where they were, nor what to do. They also could not identify any nearby landmarks, as it was dark and misty. One member of the group was reported as injured."
Roughley used the new geo-location technology for the first time in a a mountain rescue. Here Netcare 911 transmits an SMS text message to the caller’s cellphone with a link and then uses the phone’s location services to provide exact GPS co-ordinates.
“We were able to pinpoint their exact position and provide the co-ordinates, as well as a screenshot of their exact location to the local mountain rescue team,” said Kloppers.
An Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife ground rescue team was dispatched and reached the hikers in the early hours of the following morning, with all the hikers being brought to safety.
Roughley said that while her role in the rescue was “all part of a day’s work”, she was also glad she had taken the call. “It was wonderful to have been able to assist what was plainly a very frightened group of lost people, as well as play a part in their safe rescue," she said.
Independent on Saturday