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Hiker Killed In Fall After Assault on Mountain Camp

April 4, 1987

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ A climber fell 1,000 feet to his death after he and a companion were attacked by blacks at their campsite high in the Drakensberg mountains, authorities said Saturday.

The second man, Lourens Lombard, was injured but escaped and wandered barefoot through the rugged mountain area for three days before arriving in tattered clothes Friday at the resort where they began the hike, police said.

According to police, a group of blacks attacked the two white climbers early Tuesday. They said that Phillip van Rensburg apparently fell off a cliff while trying to flee from assailants throwing stones.

Van Rensburg’s body was lifted from a deep gorge Saturday by an air force helicopter.

The climbers were both from Pretoria and reportedly on their first hike in the Drakensberg. Police said the two pitched their camp near the summit of a 13,680-foot peak called the Saddle, part of the escarpment that runs along the border of South Africa’s Natal province and the country of Lesotho.

Lombard, who suffered head and back injuries, told police he returned to the campsite after the attack, to find Van Rensburg missing and all their belongings gone.

Roy Gooden, head of a local mountain rescue team, said it was ″remarkable, incredible in fact,″ that Lombard managed to get back to the resort without boots.

Censorship rules imposed under South Africa’s state of emergency include banning or restricting reporting about unrest and security force actions.

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