Battling hail and raging torrents, a team of air force personnel and mountain rescuers spent more than 20 hours extricating a Johannesburg student from a gorge in the Magaliesberg outside Pretoria.
Ben Klein and his close friend, David Ringo, were hiking through popular Tonquani Gorge on Sunday morning when disaster struck.
The two had been enjoying a break in the week’s rains and were walking through the gorge when they reached a rock pool, known as the “Help Help” pool.
Realising that it was too difficult to scramble up the sides of the pool to get around it, the two decided to jump into the pool and swim across.
It is believed that as Klein landed in the water he dislocated his shoulder, seriously injuring himself.
Jumping in after his friend, Ringo managed to get Klein to safety and pull him from the water.
Raising the alarm with passing hikers and climbers, the two waited nearly three hours before a team from the Mountain Club SA Search and Rescue could reach them.
The team, assessing the situation and Klein’s injuries, quickly realised the difficulties facing them and radioed the air force’s 17 Squadron in Pretoria for help.
Reaching the gorge, which has sheer cliff faces nearly 80m high, the Oryx helicopter crew, under the command of Major Stefan King, descended into the kloof to try to winch Klein and Ringo out.