An 18 year old UK visitor to the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park is lucky to be alive after falling 20 metres in the dark at Monk's Cowl on Thursday night 22 May 2008.
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife staff at Monk's Cowl report that Mr Steven Hird (18) of Leeds in England went for a hike in the Sterkhorn area with a companion. The pair stayed too long on the mountain and ended up walking back towards their lodge in the dark. They lost the path they were walking on and eventually came to a cliff which Mr Hird attempted to climb down.
He lost his footing and apparently fell 20 metres to the bottom of the cliff. This occurred at about 21.30. A local resident Mt Sicelo Mtshali, heard Mr Hird screaming and on investigating found the severely injured man. He immediately contacted EKZNW staff at Monk's Cowl who rapidly made their way to where Mr Hird was lying, arriving at about 10.40. The EKZNW staff found that Mr Hird had broken his right leg in two places and suspected that he might have other internal injuries. By this time Mr Hird was suffering from hyperthermia.
They administered first aid and called in local paramedics who, after stabilising the injured man with difficulty decided to call for further assistance in moving the badly injured man to safety. The KZN Mountain Rescue Group was called in for assistance and arrived at the scene 02.30 and with their help Mr Hird was carried to the EKZNW base at Monk's Cowl, arriving at about 05.30 this morning 23 May 2008.
He was immediately placed in a waiting ambulance and taken to the Laverna Hospital in Ladysmith.
AJG/ News Item No: 2008 - 05 - 23