Three hikers have their legs broken after encounter with 'agitated' baboons
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Three hikers suffered broken legs after they had an encounter with a troop of 'agitated' baboons in South Africa.
The group of seven were out in the Banhoek Mountains near Stellenbosch earlier this month when they reached a narrow ledge by a waterfall.
However, things took a turn for the worse when they spotted a troop of baboons up above them.
According to the walkers, the animals became increasingly agitated by their presence, and after two of the hikers had managed to rappel down, the monkeys allegedly pushed a huge boulder down towards them.
The 60kg rock smashed on the ledge below, splintering into dozens of sharp fragments.
Three members of the party were struck by shards, breaking their legs, while one of them suffered an open wound.
"Another hiker was struck by a piece of rock, and knocked over an exposed edge, but was prevented from falling by a safety rope connected to his harness," said a spokesperson for the Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR) Western Cape.
"More rocks continued to rain down from up high. The hikers believed the falling rocks were being dislodged by the baboons above.
"The hiking party huddled together, calming the injured among them, and warming them with sleeping bags. All while seeking shelter from the falling rocks."
Fortunately, one of the hikers managed to make an SOS call and a team of emergency responders raced to the scene.
The three hikers were airlifted to hospital, where they were treated for their injuries.
The WSAR went on: "The more seriously injured patient was packed into a stretcher and flown to a nearby landing zone. The remaining two patients were hoisted from the ledge in rescue harnesses.
"All three were transported to hospital by ambulance for further treatment.
"Rescue team members remained on standby while the remaining four hikers made their way out of the kloof."
Following the terrifying ordeal, one of the uninjured hikers said they didn't believe that the baboons were intentionally trying to hurt them.
“This was the third time I’ve been down this kloof and the first time I’ve seen or heard any baboons up there," they said.
“I don’t believe that the baboons were acting aggressively, the area is full of loose rock and debris.
"It is likely that the rocks were dislodged when the baboons were following us on the ledges above.”
The rescue coordinator praised the rescue helicopter crew and the uninjured hikers for their handling of the situation.
WSAR spokesperson Johan Marais added: "[We] wish them a speedy recovery."
Featured Image Credit: Wilderness Search & Rescue
Topics: Animals, World News