A man brandishing a knife chased a mountain bike rider on Table Mountain on Sunday and made off with the rider’s bike and sunglasses.
Darryl Colenbrander of Vredehoek was riding the uphill stretch between Devil’s Peak and the Rhodes Memorial in the Table Mountain National Park at around 4.45pm on Sunday when a man ran at him from behind, pointing a knife.
Colenbrander described how, about a minute earlier, he had ridden past the man – who he described as being in his late 20s, tall and well-built – and nodded to greet him. The man nodded back.
“I was going slowly as I was going uphill. About a minute after I passed him, I heard someone running behind me. I turned my head to see the same person I greeted no less than three metres away from me, arm raised, with a knife pointed at me,” said Colenbrander.
“He did not speak to me, demand money or anything, he just ran at me.”
Colenbrander said instinct then kicked in and he threw his bike on the ground between himself and the suspect as he thought the man wanted to steal his bike. However, the suspect continued to chase him.
“Without thinking, I ran and jumped as far as I could off the side of the road, falling about three metres into a ravine and landing in some thicket. When I recovered and looked back, the assailant was scrambling down the ravine still in pursuit of me. I got up and carried on running through the fynbos to get away. Eventually I made it to another service road and continued running. I looked back and he had by that time given up chasing me,” said Colenbrander.
He said he suffered lacerations and bruises to his face, arms and legs.
“This was not from the assailant but from jumping off the side of the road into the ravine,” said Colenbrander.
He walked back to the quarry at Devil’s Peak where he met someone walking his dog.
“He offered to take me back to Deer Park in his vehicle where I met with SANParks [South African National Parks] who interviewed me and recorded more information. I joined them in their vehicle and went back to the area to look for the assailant, without luck,” he said, adding that he had also reported the incident to police.
He said he had heard of an incident where a group of hikers were mugged on Lion’s Head on the same afternoon.
Colenbrander said he frequently rode his mountain bike, hiked or ran on the mountain, but this incident had made him wary of going up the mountain.
“I have always used the mountain to seek solace, it is a fantastic asset to have on your doorstep. That has now been taken away, it will never be the same again,” he said, adding that he hoped efforts would be made to make the new mountain bike trails safe.
SANParks communications manager for the Western Cape region Merle Collins explained that the Table Mountain Visitor Safety Unit was stationed on the mountain and comprised 100 rangers, 60 unit members and 12 dogs. She said the unit worked in conjunction with police, the department of community safety, the City of Cape Town, Metro police and civil society groups to enforce the law and ensure people’s safety.
Collins said as a result of this collective effort of the law enforcement agencies, crime incidents had decreased. She reminded the public that there was open access to the mountain and encouraged victims to report incidents so they could be investigated.
The following visitor tips are on the SANParks website under the Table Mountain National Park tab:
Table Mountain Watch tweeted:
— Table Mountain Watch (@TableMntnWatch) December 18, 2016
– Caxton News Service