A Hong Kong woman and a South African male tourist guide died after a fall during a climbing trip at the Table Mountain in Cape Town this week.
In the accident that took place on Monday, a third person — a female companion of the Hong Kong tourist — escaped with injuries following a rescue operation, reports say.
The tragedy happened as the Hong Kong women and their tour guide were trying to climb the flat-topped Table Mountain, which forms a scenic backdrop to Cape Town.
According to reports, the visitors began to scale the front of the mountain, which is 1,086 meters high, with ropes, from a place near the mountain-top cableway station at around 5 pm on New Year’s Day, with a local guide leading them.
However, the guide allegedly lost his footing and plunged, dragging the tourists down with him.
Tourists in a cableway car alerted the police who then organized a search and rescue mission.
It took rescuers who arrived at the scene in a helicopter about 12 hours before they could successfully move the three fallen mountaineers onto a cableway car.
The task was difficult as the temperature was very low — less than 10 degrees Celsius — and visibility was also poor in the area.
As one of the two women and the guide were found dead, rescuers decided to send the other woman who was still alive to hospital. She was said to be in stable condition.
As the ropes used to tie the three together did not snap, local police suspected the accident had something to do with the buckles they used. Investigations were continuing.
The dead guide, 61, reportedly had a personal website, on which he claimed to be an experienced mountain climber and a registered guide.
He claimed to have undertaken rock climbing and mountaineering expeditions in many places, including South America, North America, France and Switzerland, apart from his native South Africa.
The tragic accident and the subsequent rescue operation is said to have left more than 800 tourists stranded at the cableway station on the summit at one point.
Hong Kong’s Immigration Department said on Wednesday that it has tried to learn more about the incident through the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in the city, and the Chinese consulate general in Cape Town.
Authorities have contacted the families of the Hong Kong women to provide appropriate advice and assistance.
The identity of the deceased has not been disclosed, but reports say the victim was aged 29.
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