Body found on Table Mountain as national parks reopen

Table Mountain blanketed in mist.                                                                                                            Image: Claire Keeton

State pathologists are investigating the death of a person found on Table Mountain on the first day of national parks being open again since lockdown restrictions started on March 26.

A hiker discovered the body near the Nursery Ravine, one of several trails leading to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens on the eastern slopes of the mountain, on Monday about 4.30pm.

“The caller could see the body. The first response was to send a hasty team entering the reserve from Constantia Neck and following the Jeep track into the back of Table Mountain,” said Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR) spokesperson Johan Marias on Tuesday.

He said once the body was located and it was established “beyond doubt” the person was dead, evidence was gathered in conjunction with the police and the body was readied for transport.

Due to the position and fading light, arrangements were made for an extraction by helicopter early on Tuesday.

He said a temporary landing zone was opened in Newlands forest and the body was eventually hoisted out and flown to the state pathology services staff who were waiting at the Newlands forest station.

“The body is now in the care of the police who have taken over the investigation,” he added. “We mourn the death of a person on the first day of the opening of the mountain in terms of the pandemic regulations.”

Marais pleaded with people not to walk or hike alone in wilderness areas while still adhering to social distancing measures.

BY ARON HYMAN

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