The South African Air Force (SAAF) was instrumental in the recovery of two bodies at the bottom of the Hammarsdale Falls in KwaZulu-Natal.
On Tuesday 15 September, members from the Durban South African Police Service (SAPS) Search and Rescue Team, the Metro Police and Life Response EMS responded to a report of a sighting of two decomposing male bodies at the base of the Hammarsdale falls outside Hammarsdale (Mpumulanga) in KwaZulu-Natal.
Due to the mountainous terrain, the assistance of the SA Air Forces’ 15 Squadron was sought, the SAAF said.
Authority was granted by the KwaZulu-Natal Joint Tactical Headquarters at 17:00, that same Tuesday. Due to the worsening weather conditions and extremely low mist, the recovery was postponed until first light the following morning.
A 15 Squadron Oryx helicopter was able to access the catchment area below the waterfall and maintain a hover while the team recovered the two bodies. One of the bodies was recovered with leg irons on his ankle.
Both bodies were handed over to members from Hammarsdale SA Police Service above the falls at a nearby truck transport yard where the helicopter was able to land.
The police said an inquest docket into the incident has been opened.