26 Nov 2014 by Go!
Earlier in November, the NSRI was called out to a remote part of
the Drupkelders hiking trail near Rheenendal in the Knysna Forest
to assist injured Dutch tourist Dennis van Duivenbode. Two weeks
later, he wrote to the NSRI.
His letter reveals something about South Africa that you’ll want to
The Drupkelders trail is only 3.6km long, but cliff faces and dense
foliage make it highly inaccessible. It was suspected that Van
Duivenbode had fractured his spine when he jumped into a rock pool.
During Van Duivenbode’s rescue, six NSRI Knysna rescue swimmers
alerted by a hiking guide to the situation swam upstream for
about a kilometre, searching for the stranded hiker and his
partner. The swim involved traversing numerous waterfalls.
They discovered Van Duivenbode in a serious condition. They applied
full spinal immobilisation and loaded the injured Van Duivenbode
into a Stokes Basket sea rescue stretcher.
The NSRI swimmers then guided the stretcher downstream. The terrain
was tough and the weather conditions were worsening, but Van
Duivenbode was delivered safely to waiting paramedics.
After his discharge from hospital on 18 November, the Dutch
national wrote this letter to the NSRI.
I’m leaving the hospital today and will be transported back to
Amsterdam. Could you please forward my message to the guys (NSRI,
Metro and police) who were involved in my evacuation out of the
I’ve never been to South Africa before. And up to two weeks ago I
would have associated South Africa with: Nelson Mandela, good food,
wines, the big five, and of course beautiful nature.
During our holiday we visited museums and read about Madiba’s
intriguing life and South Africa’s past. We tasted great food,
along with tasteful South African wine, always served with
extraordinary hospitality. We saw two of the big five in the
beautiful Addo Elephant Park.
We visited the marvelous Table Mountain, enjoyed the stunning view
from Lion’s Head and experienced the spectacular Drupkelders in
After kloofing upstream through the magnificent canyon and climbing
up some waterfalls I got injured while jumping into the water.
Bad luck it was, because the water was deep enough, there were no
rocks nearby and many people have made this jump before without any
Luckily the guide and my girlfriend could drag me out of the water.
Now what would you expect while lying injured on a rock, being in
the middle of nowhere? I expected nothing, I just hoped that
somebody, somehow, would be able to get me to a hospital.
The guide raced down the canyon in world record time to get help
and brought back the heroes of the National Sea and Rescue
Institute (NSRI), Metro and the SA Police. The job to be done?
Getting me safely over several slippery waterfalls varying from 1
to 4 meters, this with me strapped on their life boat. Furthermore
getting me up a 45-degree hill through a dense forest.
I now am aware that NSRI are volunteers. You guys not only
sacrificed your free time to rescue me, but also invest your time
in training, which makes you capable to perform these operations.
From my stretcher I could see you sweating from the extreme work
you were performing. Moreover I could see you guys slip and fall
due to the terrain, but you always made sure I did not. You really
put other people’s life and welfare before that of your own.
I want to thank all who were involved in the rescue operation for
all you did to get me out of the canyon. I also want to tell you
how much I appreciated your visits in the hospital. Of course I’m
also very thankful to the guide, police, the ambulance and the
nurses and doctors of the hospital.
Despite my injury I am very glad that I visited this beautiful
country, and moreover I am happy I’ve met all these special and so
very caring people.
From now on I will associate South Africa with: Nelson Mandela,
good food, wines, the big five, beautiful nature and the most
sincerely caring people of the world.
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Barry Blomkamp Nd. Bsc (UL)
Professional Public Speaker, Trainer and Corporate Entertainer,
Motivational speaker, Guest & Key note speaker, Seminar &
Conference speaker, Team Builder, Comedian, Master of Ceremonies,
For your Strategic Planning sessions, Management or Sales meetings,
Conferences and/or Seminars, Award functions, Year end parties,
Cape Town, South Africa.