A Kruger National Park (KNP) ranger that failed to meet his colleagues at their rendezvous point after a routine patrol has been declared missing.
The park confirmed on Thursday that Checkers Mashego was on patrol along the Nsikazi River in the Stolsnek section of the park on Tuesday when he went missing.
Rangers initiated a search the next day, searching from first light and into the night, with support from a South African National Parks (SANParks) helicopter and K9 units.
Mashego was last seen in his full ranger uniform, and had a rifle, cellphone and radio on him.
KNP communications and marketing general manager Isaac Phaahla told The Citizen that Mashego has been working at the park for more than ten years, and had extensive ranger experience.
“If you have water and find warmth and shelter you can survive,” Phaahla said, adding that the park is praying for his safe return.
Police on Thursday brought in their K9 units as well.
Phaahla said it was initially thought that Mashego could have wondered out of the park.
“But they can’t find spoor that goes out of the park.”
“SANParks officials have notified his family and are currently in contact with them to provide any further support required. The incident was reported to the SAPS, who have registered a missing person’s enquiry at the Skukuza police station”, said KNP managing executive, Gareth Coleman.
The search for Mashego continues on Thursday.
If anyone knows the whereabouts of Mashego, they can contact their nearest police station, or the SANParks emergency call centre numbers on 013 735 0197 or 076 801 9679.
As of 4pm on Thursday, Mashego still had not been found.
Updates to follow as more information is made available.
Compiled by Nica Richards