Missing hiker alive and well

20 May 2019 | Environment

ELLANIE SMIT

A 31-year-old Namibian, who went missing last week while hiking in a park in California, has been found alive and well.

There was a happy ending for Deon Ndilula’s family and loved ones when he was found unscathed in the Joshua Tree National Park on Thursday, following his disappearance a day earlier.

According to a media release issued by the Joshua Tree National Park, Ndilula and his hiking companion started out on the southern end of the Boy Scout Trail in the park at approximately 08:00 on Wednesday morning.

“The two became confused with the trail in the vicinity of the Willow Hole area and separated around 14:00.”

Ndilula’s hiking companion made it to Key Ranch and used the emergency radio to call for assistance and park rangers were notified.

Ndilula was able to call 911 on his cellphone at approximately 17:50 and the searchers were able to pin-point where the signal originated.

An immediate search was launched by park law-enforcement. The search was called off after sundown, when the emergency crews were hampered by dwindling light conditions. The search continued again early on Thursday morning.

By mid-morning, Ndilula came in contact with campers who took him out of the park to a nearby restaurant. He was contacted by park rangers at the restaurant, where Ndilula was enjoying his first meal in some time.

Joshua Tree National Park is a vast protected area in southern California. It's characterised by rugged rock formations and stark desert landscapes.

The Boy Scout Trail where Ndilula went missing is listed on the National Park Service website as being among the most difficult.

Hikers are advised not to attempt it in hot conditions. The estimated hike time for the trail is six hours. The trail is eight miles (about 13 kilometres) in length.

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