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Peak Formosa claims a life

Peak Formosa claims a life
These photographs were taken during a hike along the Cairnbrogie Dairy Farm Coastline last year.
PLETTENBERG BAY NEWS - Peak Formosa, the highest peak in the Tsitsikamma Mountains at 1 675m above sea level, claimed the life of avid local hiking enthusiast, Ken Webb, on Wednesday, January 2.

Webb has been described by his fellow hiking enthusiasts as a strong, adventurous, very experienced hiker. He was 72 years old at the time of his demise.

The details surrounding his fall are vague. According to emergency services personnel, he had been hiking with a small group. It appears that Webb somehow lost his footing or his balance, or both and plummeted off the side of the mountain.

The SA Red Cross Air Mercy Service (AMS) helicopter was despatched at 13:30 from the base in Oudtshoorn and what started as a rescue operation, was soon apparent to be a recovery operation. Webb's body was found in a ravine shortly after the operation commenced. Regular hikers who have previously hiked to the summit of Formosa speculate that he lost his footing at a notoriously dangerous point known as 'The Chimney' with a sheer drop of some 250 metres.

The Mountain Club of South Africa MCSA Search and Rescue volunteers were involved in the recovery operation. According to Keri Davids, spokesperson for the Western Cape Government Emergency and Medical Services (WCGEMS), four of their rescuers were also despatched. She said that the helicopter landed on the dam wall on a farm at the base of Formosa and the rescuers were hoisted two at a time to the ravine where Webb's body was retrieved.

Although widely revered as a strenuous climb and not for the faint of heart with certain sections of the trail appearing to be unclimbable, Justin Birkenstock, AMS Base Supervisor and paramedic from Oudtshoorn, said this was the first incident to his knowledge on Formosa.
07:00 (GMT+2), Thu, 10 January 2013
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