Jan 23, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Lion’s Head: Man’s body eventually retrieved after veld fire halts mission

The body of a 53-year-old man could only be retrieved from Lion’s Head in Cape Town after a veld fire had died down. The body, which had to be left on the mountain overnight from Sunday 20 June, was eventually retrieved on Monday shortly after morning light by a helicopter.


Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR) spokesperson Johan Marais told The South African (TSA) that the man died an unnatural death on Lion’s Head on Sunday 20 June 2021.

“We were alerted to a person who had fallen at the top on Sunday late afternoon,” he said.

Marais went on to say that they could not reach the area because of a veld fire. Marais said they didn’t know how the fire came about but it was there. He went on to say that there was no helicopter available with night flight capabilities and they, therefore, had to wait for firefighting teams to declare the area on Lion’s Head safe.

“The person had already suffered fatal injuries. Between 22:00 and 23:00 at night, we packaged the body into a body bag and left it there,” said Marais. On Monday, shortly after morning light, an air mercy services helicopter was brought to the area to retrieve the body.

“Cape Town police registered an Inquest for further investigation. We can confirm that the body of a 53-year-old male was recovered on Lions Head on Monday 21 June 2021. The body of the deceased was airlifted by a helicopter from the slopes of the mountain,” said Western Cape SAPS Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi.


According to the Human Narrative on Facebook, resident Collins Ngonidzashe joined about 15 people who had gathered and alerted emergency services of the incident on Lion’s Head on Sunday.

“On our way down, that is where we met the rescuers coming up and we shared details with them of where we had seen the body and that two volunteers were there with him. That is when we saw a fire on the mountain, close to the summit, and the rescuers rushed up.”

“The people who saw him jumping said that he took off his shirt and shoes and jumped off the edge like he was jumping into a [swimming] pool.”

“The cause of the fire is still unknown and I am trying not to speculate or draw conclusions around the reasons for the man losing his life,” it read on the Facebook page.

“The mental strain we endured over the past 17 months, might only be presenting itself now for some. Mental health is a constant struggle and not a battle that can be won. To live a life with continuous negative thoughts is not a path to be walked alone. Ask for help, and help those who ask. We all can’t solve our problems alone,” it added.

ALSO READ: Lion’s Head tragedy: Hiker falls to their death on Cape Town trail