A group of rock climbers in South Africa suffered through a nightmarish situation last month when they were attacked by an agitated troop of baboons.
According to an update from the Wilderness Search And Rescue WSAR Western Cape, three hikers suffered broken legs and one suffered an open leg wound when the baboons pushed a boulder on them from above.
The hikers said they noticed the troop of baboons above them after a night of camping but they were unconcerned. They would later say the baboons “appeared agitated and curious about the humans, far beneath them.”
There were seven hikers in the group in total. After lunch, two of the rock climbers descended 180 feet (55m) down a flat rock face into a pool with a waterfall. That’s when a boulder came crashing down the mountain and hit the ledge the other fiver hikers were standing on.
According to the update, the large boulder exploded on impact. The explosion sent “shards of razor-sharp rock ‘shrapnel’ flying horizontally through the air. Three hikers were struck by the lethal shards of rock and suffered broken legs, with one suffering an open leg wound.”
The report goes on to say that another one of the five hikers on the ledge was struck by a heavy piece of rock and knocked over the ledge. They would’ve fallen to an untimely death if it wasn’t for a safety rope connected to their harness at the time of the baboon attack.
Pictures Of The Canyon Where The Baboon Attack Occurred
While all of this was happening, “more rocks continued to rain down from up high.” The group of hikers all believed the agitated group of baboons was throwing the rocks as well as having pushed the exploding boulder on top of them.
Western Cape WSAR’s reports that the climbers ” huddled together, calming the injured among them, and warming them with sleeping bags. All while seeking shelter from the falling rocks.”
They then called for help by making an SOS Call despite being out of normal cell range.
The rescue team had to use safety harnesses to pull out two of the injured climbers and a stretcher was flown in for the most seriously injured climber.
Rescuers remained while the four other climbers all ascended to safety.
One of the uninjured climbers would later tell rescuers he didn’t believe the baboons were throwing rocks as part of a coordinated attack.
He said “this was the third time I’ve been down this kloof and the first time I’ve seen or heard any baboons up there. 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.”
That’s easy to say when your leg didn’t just explode from baboons throwing a 62kg (132lb) boulder at you…
An article on the Post questions whether the boulder attack was intentional or not.
It includes a comment from one ‘ape researcher’ who wrote on the Facebook post saying “Whether they were deliberately throwing the rocks at the hikers or just dislodging them I guess will never be known but that was a lot of rocks to accidentally dislodge. It takes a lot to accidentally dislodge a 60-kilogram boulder.”
For anyone looking for survival tips, there are a LOT of videos available on YouTube. Videos like this one that cautions you to NEVER smile during a baboon attack: