Tourist dies after falling off Matroosberg Mountain

A 38-year-old Italian tourist died after he fell from a cliff in Matroosberg Reserve, on the Ceres Mountain Range, Western Cape police said on Sunday.

“The incident occurred on Saturday when two foreigners went to Ceres to enjoy the snow capped Matroosberg mountain range,” Captain Frederick van Wyk said.

“It is alleged the men travelled with their 4×4 vehicle and stopped to take in the scenery. They took out their camping chairs to sit on close to the edge of a cliff. It is further alleged that the chairs slipped on the ice. The one tourist managed to hang on to the side of the rocks, which saved his life, but his friend was not as fortunate.”

The Wilderness and Rescue Unit was notified of the incident by the owner of the Matroosberg Reserve.
The body of the man was taken to the Tygerberg Hospital Mortuary.
The family of the deceased is scheduled to arrive in Cape Town on Monday he said. – Sapa

2nd report:Cape Town – A woman who went with her 7-year-old son and friends to look at snow fell to her death in the Matroosberg near Ceres on Sunday.

Elaine Abrahams, 40, from Claremont fell about 200 metres, according to Didi de Kock, co-owner of the Matroosberg Private Nature Reserve.

Provincial police spokesperson Warrant Officer November Filander confirmed the incident. He said that according to information received by police, she had wandered from a path and slipped off a cliff.

An Oryx helicopter from 22 Squadron at the Air Force Base Ysterplaat transported a team from Wilderness Search and Rescue to the scene. They were, however, unable to remove her body from the area where she had fallen by Sunday evening.

Previous deaths

De Kock said it was almost exactly the same place where an Italian man, Pier Alberto Za, had fallen to his death on June 28 last year.

The area is known as Groothoek ravine.

An emotional De Kock said she would go to the accident scene on Monday to see what arrangements had to be made to remove Abrahams’s body.

She said Abrahams was the third person to have died in the mountain in three years. The first was Andrew Johns from Milnerton. He died in a hiking accident in 2007, barely a few hundred metres from where Alberto Za had died.

Wilderness Search and Rescue spokesperson Hugo Vaughn confirmed they were unable to reach the body by helicopter.

He said Abrahams was a sister-in-law of the Wilderness Search and Rescue member who led the search for the Italian’s body last year.

“Fortunately he was not involved in today’s search.”
Vaughn said it was a pity they had to leave the deceased there.

“We will begin planning on Monday how we will get her out of there.”
It took members of Wilderness Search and Rescue about two months last year to remove the Italian’s body.

10 Responses to Tourist dies after falling off Matroosberg Mountain

  1. kyle Jun 28, 2010 at 9:51 am #

    When are they going to close that place down? There have been too many accidents there.

  2. Jessica Jun 28, 2010 at 10:12 am #

    I was married to Andrew Johns who died when he fell from Conical Peak, Matroosberg on the 5th of August 2007. I am shocked that they still allow people to go up there after all these accidents! Shut it down!!

  3. Gavin Jun 28, 2010 at 10:16 am #

    My condolences to the family.

    If you would like them to close down a reserve because it is dangerous then you should get them to close Table Mountain, far more people have died there. Mountains are inherently dangerous, which is a large part of their appeal.

  4. Adriaan de Beer Jun 28, 2010 at 11:30 am #

    I agree with Gavin. I feel really sorry for the people who lost family there, but you should realize that you are treading on dangerous grounds when you go up a mountain covered in snow. I have also visited that place, actually the day after someone died there last year, and we adhered to safety warnings from the park officials. We never felt unsafe, but I felt the slippery ice underfoot and was told to steer clear of any downward slopes, which we did. No-one should be hindered access to a beautiful place, just because of danger, the ocean is also dangerous, and surfers would go berserk if you suddenly “closed down” the sea, because of sharks.

  5. Johann Jun 28, 2010 at 11:43 am #

    My condolences to the families of the weekends tragedies and to all the families similar tragedies in the past.

    Yet, I agree with both Gavin and Adriaan.

    Each mountain user is responsible for his or her own safety.

    National roads are much more dangerous than wilderness areas. Should those be closed too?

    I too have lost loved ones in the mountains but still regularly participate in mountain activity.

  6. Emile Theart Jun 28, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

    I have spent time up at Matroosberg on numerous occasions and have never felt unsafe. A healthy dose of common sense need to prevail. I fully agree with Gavin and Adriaan.

    My heartfelt condolences go out to the Abrahams family.

  7. Paul Jun 28, 2010 at 6:26 pm #

    I think we should ban cars… LOADS of people die in them every day!

  8. Jessica Aug 20, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

    To Gavin, how can you compare Table Mountain and the Matroosberg…? Yes, many people have died on Table Mountain, but access to walking Table Mountain is not monitored by anyone, there is a difference. If someone is providing a service, then it is their duty to make sure that EVERYONE is clearly informed of the dangers involved. My thing is…if 3 adults can so easily die on that mountain then what they going to do when/if it happens to a child? Because I can almost guarantee you that there will be implications!

  9. Marlese Nov 1, 2010 at 7:55 am #

    It seems to always happen at the same cliff – the very one where we, when I first went to Matroosberg and went up to the top on their 4×4 were allowed to go snowboarding as long as we made sure to “fall over” just before the cliff’s edge!!! I was young and stupid and trusted the owners that offered the snowboarding and 4×4 trips would know what the limits are in this regard. I shudder at the thought!!! I put my life in their hands and it was a stupid thing to do. Irrespective, Matroosberg is a beautiful nature reserve and I feel that the owners needs to take better safety precautions – especially at the cliff’s edge – put up warning signs and railings/fencing to stop people from going to close the edge….

  10. Justin Lawson Apr 3, 2014 at 11:30 am # reports:

    Nature reserve not liable for man’s death – ruling

    The widow of an Italian man who fell to his death off a snowy precipice at a popular Cape winter scenic spot has lost her bid to hold a private nature reserve liable for damages.

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