Drakensberg escarpment viewed from a Search and Rescue helicopter at 3,400m during the Drakensberg Snow Rescues July 7 to 11 1996.
Snow covers the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho (left) and KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa, as far as the eye can see, in this aerial view northward along the Drakensberg escarpment. Photo taken at an altitude of about 3,400m (11,200 feet) from a Search and Rescue helicopter crossing the Nkosazana Ridge during the Drakensberg Snow Rescues July 7 to 11, 1996. This flight was part of an extensive 3-day search and rescue operation, coordinated jointly by SANDF 15 Squadron and the Mountain Club of South Africa (MCSA). The operation was initiated after receiving multiple missing person reports in the wake of the record snowfalls of July 1996. Ten helicopters were utilized in the operation: 4 Oryx, 4 BK117 and 2 Alouettes. In total, the search tally grew to 123 known to be unaccounted for – mostly overnight backpackers. All 123 were subsequently found, 66 were airlifted to safety, and the remainder, well prepared and in good health, chose to decline assistance. MCSA Mountain Search and Rescue team: Andrew Haliburton, Graham Smith, Steve Cooke, Greig Stewart, Carl Fatti, Egmont Geodeke, Gavin Raubenheimer, Jeremy Farquhason, Mike Maxfield, Sean Bartleet, Ian Bailey, Dr Ian Forsyth, George Morphis, Tod Collins. Lt-Col Eric Elphick headed up the team from 15 Squadron, comprising pilots, engineers and aircraft support. Nikon F90, Nikon AF Nikkor 28-70/3.5-4.5D. Fujichrome Velvia RVP 50.Add to Cart Add to Lightbox Download