“Let’s go get a beer,” said Nicolas Seymour, one of two hikers who went missing on Table Mountain, when he was finally reunited with his wife.
In an emotional reunion marked with feelings of joy and embarrassment, Seymour, from Hong Kong, and Hillary McPhee, from Scotland, found their way down the mountain after being lost for more than five hours. They were part of a 20-strong team of experienced hikers who took on the mountain from Platteklip Gorge at 6am on Thursday. Seymour and McPhee, who were ahead during the expedition, took a wrong turn and ended up losing track of the rest of the team.
“There were no decent signposts,” said Seymour.
The rest of the team, including Seymour’s wife, Lynn, and McPhee’s husband, continued with the trail, reaching the summit at 8.15am.
By then, the group had become increasingly worried about the two missing hikers.
At 11am, the Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR) received a distress call and dispatched a search team.
“Given the current weather conditions, an early search was necessary,” said Alan Butcher from the WSAR.
Just before 2pm, two police officers found the two hikers at the base of the mountain, unscathed and “happy to be down”.
“I’m absolutely overjoyed to know they are not hurt, and are safe,” said Lynn Seymour.
Seymour said he was grateful to the volunteers, metro police and mountain rangers for their rescue, and “a bit embarrassed for causing the whole commotion”.
A weeping McPhee said the experience was “very scary” and that she was relieved when they could finally “see something”, as thick mist had hindered their vision for most of the way down.
“Once the mist cleared, the view of Cape Town was glorious. I thought, God, there must be a God. It was like seeing an oasis in the desert. I’m so happy to be down,” said McPhee.