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Pilots mourn hiker stabbed on mountain

31 January 2018 - 16:14 By Petru Saal
Doug Notten.
Doug Notten.
Image: Doug Notten / Facebook

Pilots from around the world are mourning the loss of a colleague who was murdered while hiking in the Table Mountain National Park.

Capetonian Douglas Notten was attacked while walking with his wife Julia above Kalk Bay on Sunday. The couple was attacked by a strongly built‚ knife-wielding man as they looked for a spot to have a coffee break.

The father of three was an accomplished pilot who worked in several countries‚ flying fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. During that time‚ he took part in rescue operations and flew for the South African Police Service.

The SA Red Cross Air Mercy Service helicopter was used to help retrieve his body from the mountain while a police helicopter searched for his attacker on Sunday.

Notten had an impressive flying CV. Phil Voget said his uncle had served as a flight instructor‚ teaching young would-be pilots the ropes.

“He flew for various offshore international helicopter service provision companies. He flew in Europe‚ Kazakhstan‚ Surinam‚ Tanzania‚ Morocco and in southern Africa. He did a lot of freelance tourist helicopter flying in Cape Town and surrounds‚” said Voget.

Notten had flown helicopters in the South African Air Force‚ worked for a helicopter company servicing ships on the move and made rescue flights. He was involved in the aerial photographing of whales for the Mammal Research Institute‚ flew helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft for the police air wing and flew for SA Express.

Family said he would always be remembered for his “passion for flying helicopters like no other”.

Pilots from around the world bid farewell to their friend and colleague on Facebook.

James McCaffrey posted: “My dear friend Doug Notten‚ from Cape Town. I've just received word that he and his wife were attacked while hiking in the mountains yesterday. Doug fought off the attacker long enough to allow Julia to escape. Doug did not survive.”

Trevor Abraham from Arrington in the UK posted: “Absolutely devastated to read of the death of a truly great man.. Heartlessly taken from us whilst protecting his wife as they enjoyed time together on a seemingly peaceful walk... Goodnight my friend.”

Matt Rother posted: “Oh no! Such a gentleman and a kind soul. Always a smile. God will certainly embrace him in loving arms. Peace and prayers to his family.”

Jan Willem Prince a pilot from the Netherlands‚ posted: “Unbelievable … So sad to hear about Doug... Such a kind person‚ a true gent and an amazing instructor. My condolences to his family.”

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Andrè Traut said on Wednesday that no arrests had been made.