Three hikers injured by falling boulder – and 'agitated' baboons may be to blame

Baboon bearing teeth
(Image credit: Getty)

Three hikers were left with broken legs at the weekend after being hit by a falling boulder that split into pieces – and a troop of baboons may have been responsible.

The incident happened on Sunday, when a group of seven people were returning from a day of canyoneering in Banhoek, South Africa. They had spent the night on a mountain, and were making their way through a river gorge when they spotted a group of baboons high above them.

According to Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR), some members of the group later reported that the animals seemed agitated, but they didn't think much of it at the time.

The South African Sunday Times reports that two of the seven had just finished rappelling from a pool to the middle of a waterfall when the boulder hit a ledge the others were standing on, and exploded into shards. Three suffered broken legs, and one also sustained an open wound. One person was knocked off a ledge and saved by their rope and harness.

Showered with rocks

Rocks continued to fall while the four uninjured hikers made their companions as comfortable as possible and kept them warm with sleeping bags. Members of the group say they believe the debris was dislodged accidentally by the baboons,

One person eventually managed to make an SOS call, and a rescue team was dispatched via helicopter. The three injured hikers were airlifted to safety and taken for medical treatment, while the remaining four made their own way down.

"We ask that all wilderness enthusiasts help us by sharing the emergency contact number, 021-937-0300, and share our posts on the #IAmWildernessSafe campaign," said WSAR spokesperson Johannes Marais.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.