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The Johannesburg Section of the Mountain Club of South Africa actively fosters and facilitates mountaineering. This incorporates climbing, trekking, mountain walking and related activities, and promoting fellowship between people with these interests who are committed to the conservation of mountain areas.

HomeNewsLatestSearch and Rescue 18 March 2012

Search and Rescue 18 March 2012


At approximately 8:00 on 18 March, 4 paragliders took off from a paragliding launch site on the Magaliesberg ridge 10km East of the Hartebeespoort dam wall. Unbeknownst to the other pilots, the last glider pilot was airborne for only a short distance and then crashed into the side of the mountain. The pilot (Cape Town based) ended up hanging upside down suspended from the glider lines and unconscious on steep terrain over a short drop-off (2m or so). Luckily a farm hand saw the crash from the valley below and heard the pilot scream (1.5km away) and raised the alarm with the other 3 paragliders. The rest of the pilots (having used a spotting scope to locate him on the slope after they landed) got to the Pt after an hour and took him down and started first aid and called MCSA Search and Rescue for assistance for their friend who was fighting for his life on the side of the mountain.

Visibly shaken fellow paragliders busy packing up the man's paragliding canopy close to where he impacted into the slope, after he was flown to a Netcare Hospital. Photo Mountain Club of SA Search and Rescue

lider was critically injured and required urgent medical attention. The Netcare 911 emergency helicopter was asked to attempt to land close to the fallen paraglider in on a level but boulder strewn spot some 300m away. Fortunately the helicopter pilot was able to land and get a doctor and advanced life support paramedics to attend to the paraglider which was some distance down the slope. In support, the rest of the MCSA Search and Rescue team split in two with one part heading straight for the scene and the rest assembled at the Swartkops Air Force base where an Oryx helicopter was standing by.

The Netcare 911 Helicopter where it landed on top of the Magaliesberg ridge, 10km East of the Hartebeespoort dam. The man was carried in a stretcher up the steep slope and flown to hospital. Photo: Mountain Club of SA Search and Rescue


Due to the terrain the bystanders and medical personnel at the crash site could not carry the paraglider to the awaiting helicopter and the MCSA Team members at the bottom of the Magaliesberg ridge drove up the south side of the Magalies on what can barely be called a road (driving over small trees) and hiked a further 15 mins up to the scene with stretcher to help with the stretcher carry up to the top of the ridge. The Oryx was stood down after the Netcare heli took off for Union Hospital.

The paraglider was admitted to hospital in a critical condition and in a coma. MCSA Search and Rescue would like to offer the paraglider and his family their prayers of support in what must be a very difficult time.


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