Search and rescue team in 7 hour rocky mountain trek to find body

Upper Tugela police are probing a case of murder after a man was brutally assaulted and allegedly killed by a mob from a local community on Friday, 20 October. What was deemed to have been a simple recovery by rescuers turned out to be a seven hour ordeal for the team and a 35km trek in rocky terrain and dehydration was setting in fast.

It is believed that the man’s body was then dragged up a mountain and flung off its edge to about a 150 metre drop in order to cover up their misdeed, according to police.

The search for the man’s body was led by Warrant Officer Jaques Meyer and his search dog Emma of the K9 unit.

What seemed to be a quick search and recovery by the K9 turned out to be a seven hour exercise. Meyer and Emma were among a small group of people, officials from the nearby Border Post and two members of the community to help with the search.

With water running out for the searchers in the 35 km trek through rocky mountain terrain, it became struggle. “It was a long and in part of the search we had to climb on all fours to reach the top,” said one of the community members at the scene.

Okhahlamba Search and Rescue’s Freddy Halgreen was contacted, after the search team managed to report back that they were struggling with dehydration. “I managed to contact medics to rush to the scene to treat the men for dehydration,” said Halgreen.

The body was lodged between rocks at about 80 metres from the fall and could not be recovered. Meyer had to notify Pietermaritzburg Search and Rescue as well as call on the assistance of the police’s airwing.

The recovery was finally done on Monday after both Meyer and Emma recovered from their seven-hour ordeal. It took the police chopper almost three trips in to safely secure harnesses for the rescue team.

The dead man has as yet not been identified. Arrests are expected to follow soon.