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21 July 2011

South Africans missing in Fish River Canyon

Lauren Hess, News24

Cape Town - Three South Africans have gone missing in an arid region of the Fish River Canyon after becoming separated from their group of friends.

The trio were part of a group of nine people, which included two guides. They left last Wednesday and were due to return on Monday this week.

According to Ilonka de Beer, from Pretoria, her mother Rene Booyse and Ricky and Sandra Harmse were hiking along a trail in the Ai Ais region in the Fish River Canyon with their four friends and the guides when they came to a boulder just 13km outside the exit gate from their resort.

De Beer said that her mother and the Harmses decided to go “around the boulder” while the others went over it and it was at the point that they became separated.

She said the group looked for their missing friends but did not find them. They went back to their resort - the Ai Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park - and later went back to look for them.

De Beer said she only found out on Tuesday that her mother was missing when she phoned Transfrontier Park. She said they hadn’t even launched a rescue operation at that point.

A rescue helicopter had been sent out earlier on Thursday, she said.

- News24