Mountain deaths probed

Sanparks have warned Table Mountain users to be cautious after the death of two hikers last week. Picture: Armand Hough / ANA

The incident that led to the death of two climbers on Table Mountain on New Year’s Day is still under investigation, says SANParks.

Guide Ian Slatem and two tourists had found themselves in trouble while rope climbing on the section of the mountain called Arrow Final.

A rescue operation that took several hours to complete commenced. The operation of the Table Mountain Cableway was also suspended, leaving about 500 tourists stranded at the top until about 10.30pm.

Mr Slatem and one of the tourists died while the other tourist was left injured.

The tourists have not yet been identified.

Merle Collins, spokesperson of SANParks, appealed to climbers and visitors to adhere to park rules in order to stay safe.

“At this stage SANParks believes that it was an accident. We are waiting for the results of the investigation,” she said.

Table Mountain Cableway managing director, Wahida Parker, said they were grateful for the understanding of the 500 tourists at the top of the mountain. “By enabling us to use the cable car to assist Metro Rescue, you contributed to the rescue operation which saw the injured climber transported down the Mountain in the cable car. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the two climbers who lost their lives.”

Johann Marais, spokesman for Wilderness Search and Rescue, said his team also assisted with bringing the bodies down from the mountain.

“After all the tourists had been brought down, the recovery of the two remaining bodies resumed.”

He added that Wilderness Search and Rescue assisted with 185 rescues and searches on Table Mountain in 2017, 22 of those being in December.