Arrive Alive

Rescue training exercise held at Table Mountain

Rescue teams from Wilderness Search And Rescue (WSAR) spent Tuesday and Wednesday nights sharpening their ability to mount rescues from the Table Mountain cable-car, ahead of a busy summer season.

The teams trained specifically for rescue operations using the world-famous tourist attraction’s cable-cars.

This is ahead of the prime summer tourist season, during which the number of people on the mountain traditionally soars – often resulting in more regular mountain rescues.

The WSAR rescue team comprised volunteers and professionals with expertise in emergency care, rock climbing, mountaineering,  logistics and technical rope skills.

WSAR training coordinator for the event explained:

“We have an excellent relationship of co-operation with the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway and value the contribution they’ve made to wilderness rescue.

“There are situations in which their cable-cars are of critical importance to us – as a rapid form of access to certain areas of Table Mountain. 

“We can lower rescuers out of the cable-car, down to the mountain by rope. 

“Equally, in the past, we have had to hoist patients back up to the cable-cars, including patients on stretchers.

“So this exercise was to ensure our rescue teams are completely familiar with the lay-out and structure of the cable-car. Working out of the cable-car requires specific rigging techniques, so this is what we are perfecting during this training exercise.”

In the exercise, rescuers boarded the cable-car, which ascended Table Mountain a short way. The cable-car operators then stopped the car, and the WSAR rescuers abseiled down to the rocky mountain face – and then packaged a patient in a stretcher, before raising the stretcher and patient back into the cable-car.

WSAR representative Johann Marais said: “We are expecting an exceptionally busy tourist season – and this is likely to mean that Table Mountain, the full Table Mountain National Park and all surrounding nature and wilderness areas will be exceptionally busy. 

“We call on all nature users to prepare well and always proceed with respect and caution.”

WSAR once again thanks the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway and their staff for their “fantastic co-operation” and the continued support.

Wilderness Search And Rescue (WSAR) is a network of government agencies, and civilian volunteer organisations, who partner in search and rescue. 

Members of the public are reminded to save and memorise the Emergency Contact Number, 021 937 0300.

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