The body of a 40-year-old woman, who slipped and fell 25 metres while hiking Gray’s Pass in the Drakensberg on Sunday, has been recovered from a narrow gully.
According to Mountain Club KwaZulu-Natal rescue convenor Gavin Raubenheimer, the recovery of the woman’s body on Wednesday would have been done quicker and sooner if inclement weather didn’t hamper their efforts. The search for the woman started late on Sunday, but the weather deteriorated on Sunday night and remained misty and rainy until Tuesday afternoon, said Raubenheimer.
The woman had been camping in the valley below Gray’s Pass with two of her friends over the weekend.
“On Sunday morning, they set out to climb Gray’s Pass and then return to camp. Two of the women did not go very far and turned to wait for their friend who decided to carry on to the summit of the pass,” said Raubenheimer.
When she did not return, her friends sounded the alarm.
According to Raubenheimer, the woman had been spotted by another group of climbers as she was making her way down, but she never returned to her friends or camp site.
KZN wildlife rangers, the SA Police Services (SAPS) and K9 Unit were all part of the search and rescue operation.
The weather only cleared on Tuesday afternoon, which enabled helicopters to join the search, and the breakthrough was made as she was spotted “in a deep, narrow gully and appeared to have fallen about 25m”.
The joint team extracted her body on Wednesday morning using ropes and a stretcher, Raubenheimer added.