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13 Sep 2007 07:10
A team of 30 rescue-workers stretchered an injured base-jumper off Table Mountain at 10pm on Wednesday after an operation lasting eight-and-a-half hours, said Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSR).
The 19-year-old hurt his back and ribs and sustained other minor injuries when he plummeted 30m down Platteklip Gorge at 2pm, said WSR head Dr John Roos, who also works for Cape Metro emergency medical services.
He was taken to the Chris Barnard Memorial Hospital where he was in a stable condition.
“I don’t know why he was base-jumping from where he was ... It was not a clever thing for him to have done,” said Roos.
He jumped from the top of Table Mountain, to the left of Platteklip.
“Something went wrong,” he said.
He ended up unable to walk and trapped on a ledge in the gorge, in an area inaccessible to the helicopters sent in to try and airlift him out.
Instead, teams of rescuers climbed to him, strapped him into a stretcher and hoisted him to the top of the mountain, said Roos.
They carried him to the cable-car station and loaded him into a car which ferried him to the ground.
He said that although the Red Cross rescue helicopter could not get to him, it was able to send down an advance team, which included a doctor.
As conditions deteriorated, an South African Air Force Oryx helicopter was called in, but it too was unable to reach the jumper.
This made the operation “technical”, said Roos.
He said an initial team of about 16 rescuers was bolstered with six more “sent in to do the more technical work”.
The rest of the team â€’- composed of volunteers—manned a base station at the bottom of the mountain to coordinate the operation.
Base jumping is derived from an acronym that stands for the four categories of fixed objects from which one can jump: a building, antenna, a span (a bridge or arch and earth, such as a mountain.
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