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PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2006 2:04 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 11:59 am
Posts: 132
Location: Pretoria / Johannesburg
Real Name: Andrew Blanche
I was in the Northern Berg (Sentinel) this last weekend. We had made an impromptu decision to go see the snow, as one does on a Saturday morning at 6:30 am. Due to the winds the view was amazing as all the haze over Phud was dissipated and you had virtually unlimited visibility. Temperature inside the tent on Saturday evening was minus 2 and the temperature in the front vestibule (where my dragonfly stove was brewing tea) was minus 10! With a 25 knot wind you can figure out the wind chill temperature for your self.

On returning to the car park on Sunday we were greeted by 3 local rescue services vehicles who had received a call from someone who was “stuck” at the top of the chain ladders. A friend of mine later reported that the woman was afraid to come down the ladder.

I was wondering who pays for this? The poor taxman? Or are the individuals billed per callout?

I agree with preventing an accident by calling the rescue services rather than coping with an accident once it’s too late and I also grateful for our easy access to mountains without red tape and insurance etc but realised that at the end of the day someone (read as you and me) ends up footing the bill for these adventures.

Anybody with info on this?

It’s also interesting to see what different people consider as adequate gear to cope with rain, snow, and cold weather!

:shock:


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PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2006 3:22 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 02, 2006 7:36 pm
Posts: 62
We met their guide on our way up, just below the chains. He was the one who called for the rescue. After we clambered up the chains - yes the wind was pumping but not too serious - we met the hikers at the hut and assured them that it was OK to go down and that the conditions were manageble. They eventually left with the guide and went down without a rescue. As you stated, the rescue vehicles were already at the bottom. If there was no actual rescue, does someone still pay for the call out?


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PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2006 4:03 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2005 8:31 am
Posts: 3031
Location: Montagu
Real Name: Justin Lawson
My understanding of the mountain rescue services (for the Western Cape) is as follows:

-- All members belonging to rescue services are volunteer (with the exception being Metro, who I assume are Government funded)

-- Helicopters are provided by the Air Force and another organisation (dont know who they are) I think choppers fly at R3000 an hour?

-- Persons who get rescued, will be asked to contribute / pay for the rescue if they have insurance.

-- There are 4 or 5 resuce teams in the Cape. There is one emergency Number which goes through to a central office. Which ever team is on call, gets to go out and perform the rescue.

-- All the rescue teams except for one are trained to perform rescues using ropes (the other I am told is made up of memebers from a local hiking club)

I do not know any of the above as fact, but hopefully will have some info from the horses mouth soon :)

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PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2006 1:26 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 8:21 pm
Posts: 354
I have the dubious honour of being involved in two separate helicopter rescues off Blouberg. In both cases, medical aid footed the bill for at least some of the helicopter time. I'm not sure how much. The time, petrol etc of mtn rescue was very generously paid for by the rescuers themselves, as far as I know. These people give up alot of time, money and effort to rescue our sorry asses when things go wrong. They are always extremely professional and competent and should be supported and encouraged as much as possible. The air force pilots are also amazing. They managed to keep a big oryx rock solid about a metre from the cliff as 15 odd people got winched in. Pretty impressive!


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 Post subject: Rescue
PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2006 5:36 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2006 7:15 am
Posts: 18
Location: Pretoria
Hi everyone

A couple of clarifications:

1: The organisation that conducts ground-based rescues on Sentinel and the Mt Aux Sources chain-ladder area is Phutaditjaba Fire And Rescue services - a government run municipal service. People being rescued by them might (or might not) receive an account.

2: An Air-Force Oryx runs at a cost of R 35,000 per hour. We're (MCSA SAR) busy with low-key campaign to get the SAAF to waive any costs for rescue. The problem is that there arrear to be parts of the private sector which seem to think that they are capable of rescue and consequently object to the SAAF performng rescue for free as they claim it affects their right to earn an income (!). Another part of the problem is that the new Defence Act has invalidated the previously established standing instructions w.r.t. the use of military assets for humanitarian assistance.

3: Most other serious mountain rescue is conducted by volunteer teams with occasional full-time professional medical-types. These teams do not charge for rescue. They appreciate donations but will not directly ask for them.

As an aside, I find it disturbing that a guide is not carrying the necessary equipment to safeguard a client on the chain ladder and does not think of using the Sentinel Gully as an alternate route. Do you have any idea where this guide was operating from?

Regards

Rob

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http://www.sml.co.za/
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2006 9:13 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2005 8:49 pm
Posts: 293
(slightly off topic) Does anyone have the emergency phone # for mountain rescue in the Western Cape?


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PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2006 9:34 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 24, 2006 9:01 pm
Posts: 24
Location: KZN
Real Name: Gavin Raubenheimer
This is in reply to the question from CHALK about who pays for rescues. There is no one answer to this as rescues are carried out by different bodies all over the counrty. To be more specific in the Berg the cost of an airborne rescue is paid from the KZN Wildlife Rescue Fund. This fund is paid for by people entering any KZN wildlife park. R1.00 per person of the entry fee goes to the fund. The fund works well and is in a very healthy state.

In the case in question no rescue actually happened and I am not sure who called out the rescue vehicles or who they were, that were seen at the car park.
I would suspect they were from the Qwa qwa fire service. The cost of the fire service would be paid out of tax payers money. If this was a rescue which warrented an aircraft then the SAAF would have been activated via the MCSA and the provincial ambulance service. This aircraft would be have been paid for from the Rescue Fund.

The KZN MCSA team were notified of the \"problem\" and I asked the caller to inform the party that due to the fact that there was no emergency that no rescue would take place.

However on a personal note. I would caution against pointing fingers at other people who were scared or badly equipped and for spending tax payers money. Given the expected weather conditions last weekend there are many climbers and non climbers who would question you going and camping on the escarpment while a cold fron was about to hit. If you yourself then became trapped and needed to be rescued I am sure that you would like to know that the fact that tax payers money was to be used for getting you out of your mistake, would be the last thing on the rescue teams minds. After all we pay tax so that people and resources are available to help citizens of the country. By the way I was trying to climb the Bell, so its all just a matter of perceptions of danger.

Just a note on the use of any goverment aircraft (SAAF or SAPS). The pilots all undergo ongoing training, some of which requires them to fly in mountains, perform hovers and hoisting etc. In some rescues they are not paid out of the rescue fund. Some pilots get this \"time\" while performing mountain rescues. Those who do not have to spend tax payers money logging up this mountain flying time anyway doing mock rescues etc. Thats tax payers money, but its what we pay as citizens for having crack pilots.

Gavin Raubenheimer
KZN Rescue Convener


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2006 2:22 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 26, 2006 2:06 pm
Posts: 12
Location: Cape Town
To answer your question Grigri, the phone number for mountain rescue in the Western Cape is 021, 9489900.

This number gets you through to the Metro emergency call centre where they will take the details including your name and contact number. This information is then handed on to the Metro duty doctor and the Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR) duty manager. The manager will determine the level of response and resources needed and initiate the callout of the volunteer organisations. The manager will normally call you back to get more details, so it is important to make sure you give your contact number and stay contactable.

Hope you never need this info.

Regards,
Roy.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2006 5:59 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2005 8:49 pm
Posts: 293
Thanks 4 the information, I have only now woken up and looked in the phone book where they are all listed on page 2 - DOH! :? I too hope I never dial that number!! But we should all have them pre-programmed in our phones just in case. The other numbers worth having are the Poison center numbers in case of snake bite : Tygerberg Hospital 021-9316129, Red Cross Childrens Hospital 021-6895227.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2006 10:51 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 5:06 pm
Posts: 47
Rob, I find it interesting that there is ANY move on the part of the MCSA to try to get SAAF to continue waiving helicopter charges for rescues.

Shouldn't we be a little more socially responsible than this?

I mean, in a country where vast sectors of the population do not have anywhere sanitary to sit and have a dump, can we justify having the taxpayer pay R35 000 per hour to airlift us out of trouble in the mountains?

Shouldn't the MSCA be taking out group insurance for its members to cover this instead? Like the Alpine clubs in Europe do, for example.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2006 9:05 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2006 7:15 am
Posts: 18
Location: Pretoria
Hi

I agree that there's a huge imbalance in the economics of this country. However, this is not a simple issue. There are many arguments both for and against charging for rescue and only the powers that own the aircraft may make that decision. Consider these few for NOT charging for rescue:

- Fishermen rescued at sea, whether recreational or otherwise, receive no account from the SAAF. Likewise the crew and passengers of crashed aircraft (recreational or otherwise). Why should mountaineers? They're also tax-paying citizens. Even the tourists who get rescued are contributing to the economy (as are the ones who don't).

- The rescuers who perform the technical aspects of the rescues themselves are unpaid. If the SAAF wants to charge for rescue, what's to stop the rescuers doing the same? That's when we start down the slippery slope towards commercialised rescue. That's when you start to discover the true cost of rescue...

- Lastly, people afraid of receiving an account are more likely to wait until things are dire before calling for rescue, by which time several hours may have elapsed, darkness may be approaching and the risk factor goes up. This is not a hypothetical possibility - I know for a fact of at least one party who specifically declined rescue after being told that a helicopter had been organised. They didn't mention their reason until some time later, which is sad because at that time rescue WAS free! (Yes, the injury was serious - it required 33 stitches in the head and observation in hospital).

On the subject of insurance - the MCSA has looked at this on occasion in the past. The only way that this would be feasible would be if every single MCSA member took it out, and even then you'd probably find that it would add more than R100 per year to membership subs. If the MCSA had 5,000 members (dunno what the actual figure is) it would raise a total of R 500,000 per year - ±15 hours of flying for the year. How many rescues do you think could be done in that time? (Hint: take a look at http://alewis.its.uct.ac.za/sama) to get an idea of the rescue stats just for the Western Cape.

That's why the MCSA feels that it should be asking the the SAAF to reconsider their policy.

As a final thought, ask yourself if you want to be rescued by the 'lowest bidder' in a tender to supply rescue services.

Regards

Rob

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Rob Thomas
http://www.sml.co.za/
082-652-1490 (all hours but try to be reasonable)


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 Post subject: Who pays for rescues?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 07, 2006 6:12 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2006 5:45 pm
Posts: 1
Nice perspective, Rob

- Your comment of delayed rescue due to concerns re costs is very real. Recently a well known climber walked out from a Montagu crag after a serious deck fall, risking permanent spinal injury, because of his unfounded worry about rescue costs.

- A further concern expressed by WCape METRO management, is that if rescues are paid for, that METRO will have to deal with a horde of pseudo-rescue services attempting mountain rescue (as they have to do for MVA's)

- Interestingly, a very recent poll of members of ICAR Medcom, has revealed that NO member country (of about 25 responses) charges for your rescue if you are not insured. That includes all European Alpine countries.

- It may be difficult for METRO to bill victims that do have insurance, but surely an underwriter with the infrastructure in place would be keen to do the billing for a percentage of the returns? See Andy Lewis' SAMA webpage, and do the sums!

Rik De Decker


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 10:30 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 5:06 pm
Posts: 47
Hmm... I'm no expert. But I still think Rob's and Rik's arguments for continued \"free\" mountain rescue are thin.

The only difference we have to Europe in terms of the economics of the insurance scenario is numbers. Of course an issue, but we also cannot measure numbers in terms of MCSA members. The MCSA is an exclusive club. The continental Alpine clubs are not - you pays your 50 Euros a year, and you gets your insurance (worth 30 000 Euros a year).

As to people not calling for a rescue because they want to avoid the costs. Well, this is a Darwinian issue. The clever people take out insurance; the dumb people don't, and suffer the consequences.

That's life. You have dependents, you take out life insurance. You drive a car, you insure it. You have medical insurance to cover against illness. Come on.

Commercial rescue in Europe is certainly not about a quick buck, nor any kind of rampant commercialism. It is about the people who require rescue services paying for them.

The maritime rescue comparison: I have no easy answer to that - it is a good point.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 9:45 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2007 9:40 am
Posts: 773
Location: Stellenbosch
Real Name: Nic Le Maitre
Grigri wrote:
(slightly off topic) Does anyone have the emergency phone # for mountain rescue in the Western Cape?


The Emergency number is: 10177. This number will put you in contact with the METRO rescue control room who will help you further

Nic


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 Post subject: Rescue: Who pays
PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:15 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2007 9:40 am
Posts: 773
Location: Stellenbosch
Real Name: Nic Le Maitre
Hi All

As Rob And Rik have said no one charges for rescue in any country in the world.

In the Western Cape search and rescue is run by WSAR, an umbrella organization incorporating all the volunteer mountain rescue teams, NSRI etc. Helicopter support is provided by the the Red Cross Air Mercy Service (AMS) and the South African Air Force (SAAF). WSAR in turn falls under the provicial emergency services (METRO).

WSAR receives no government funding and is supported entirely by donations from corporations and private induviduals. All the rescuers in WSAR are volunteers and receive no payment. The AMS helicopter is funded by the South African Red Cross and the provinicial government. While the SAAF helicopter is payed for by the Defense Department

A mountain rescue, even one requiring a helicopter, is actually similar to a road accident. Just that the accident takes place further from the road and METRO personnel might require technical assistance to reach the patient(s). If the situation is serious enough, the METRO doctor on duty can authorise the use of a helicopter to extract the patient(s) just as they would for a road accident. The mountain rescue is just an extension of METRO's normal response to ANY accident, for which there is no charge. Why should mountain calls be any different?

I agree however that those people who have mounatin rescue insurance (is there such a thing in this country? I know that Discovery specifically does not cover several types of mountain accidents) should pay for their rescue. But those that do not have cover should not pay.

Incidentally, in Europe, most if not all, the Continental rescue teams are all members of the police force and/or armed services and their salaries are payed by the government. So count yourself lucky that your taxes only pay for part of the cost of rescues, the volunteers carry the rest.

Nic


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:18 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2007 9:40 am
Posts: 773
Location: Stellenbosch
Real Name: Nic Le Maitre
RW wrote:
To answer your question Grigri, the phone number for mountain rescue in the Western Cape is 021, 9489900.

This number gets you through to the Metro emergency call centre where they will take the details including your name and contact number. This information is then handed on to the Metro duty doctor and the Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR) duty manager. The manager will determine the level of response and resources needed and initiate the callout of the volunteer organisations. The manager will normally call you back to get more details, so it is important to make sure you give your contact number and stay contactable.

Hope you never need this info.

Regards,
Roy.


The 021 9489900 number still works but will be discontinued soon. You will have to use the following number: 10177.

Nic


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