A British couple say they are “lucky to be alive” after being stabbed and robbed as they climbed Table Mountain in South Africa.
Yvonne and Don Cormack, from Harlow in Essex, had been walking with among a group of seven fellow hikers on Saturday morning when two men suddenly pulled out knives and demanded they hand over some of their belongings, including their mobile phones.
Those who refused were then stabbed, and the attackers smashed their heads with rocks. The incident is said to have happened 30 minutes into the climb.
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Mr Cormack, 71, was still in hospital yesterday getting treatment for nine knife wounds while his wife, 67, was also stabbed as she tried to protect her husband. She suffered cuts to her neck and arm as she hit one of the robbers with a walking stick.
One of the hikers was in a critical condition, after his head was hit with a rock.
“I have been hiking on the mountain for two years and it is the first time something like this has happened. We are lucky to be alive. I won’t forget that knife coming at me and cutting into my skin," Mrs Cormack told South African newspaper Cape Argus.
They were rescued when another group of walkers, which included a doctor, found them on the mountain. Mr Cormack was airlifted to hospital. The couple are understood to have recently moved to Cape Town because they are keen hikers.
The South African National Parks authority, which runs the Table Mountain National Park, said that it had stepped up patrols following an increase in recent muggings. Two people have been arrested in connection with another incident.
In the meantime, surveillance has also been upped and observation points have been set up to monitor who is going up and down the mountain.
SANParks spokesperson Merle Collins stressed the public should be aware following the recent spate of incidents.
“To this point Table Mountain National Park has appointed a visitor safety team whose role it is to keep crime to a minimum in the national park,” she said.
“Management would like to caution the public not to take the law into their own hands and not to interfere in any official law enforcement duties.”