Body of missing hiker recovered on Otter Trail in Western Cape

A tragic end to a search operation has resulted in the recovery of a missing hiker’s body on the Otter Trail in the Tsitsikamma Section of the Garden Route National Park.

According to South African National Parks (SANParks) the hiker, who was part of a group, had gone ahead and was last seen at approximately 13:00 on Tuesday, the second last day of the trail.

When he failed to arrive at the last overnight hut, his group reported him missing.

Hiker search operation launched

Western Cape has been grappling with disastrous weather conditions recently.

However, despite unfavourable weather conditions, large swells, and swollen rivers, a search operation was launched by SanParks Rangers, joined by the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), at around 15:43 on Tuesday.

The search continued until nightfall but yielded no results.

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The search operation continued at daybreak on Wednesday. The South African Police Service and police search and rescue teams helped with the search.

Body recovered on a trail

As the search continued, the hiker was found on Wednesday.

Regrettably, he had already been deceased at the time.

According to JP Louw, Head of Communications for SanParks, the deceased’s family has been notified by the park management, “who are providing support during this difficult time.”

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Weather warning

The incident serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of hiking during severe weather conditions.

“In light of the adverse weather, SANParks is continuously monitoring conditions and hikers are advised against the crossing of fast-flowing rivers or areas affected by the high sea conditions,” said Louw.

While the Otter Trail remains open, the park management is keeping a close eye on the situation.

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Louw, on behalf of the park, extended condolences to the bereaved family and friends of the hiker.

Hikers are advised to check weather forecasts and trail conditions before embarking on their journey and to stay informed about potential hazards along the trail.

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