Volunteers flock to join search for Table Mountain trail-runner

08 July 2020 - 11:31 By Aron Hyman
The photographs of Ken Stephen posted on Facebook by the Trail Running Association.
The photographs of Ken Stephen posted on Facebook by the Trail Running Association.
Image: Facebook/Trail Running Association Western Province

Nearly 300 people have volunteered to continue the search for Cape Town trail-runner Ken Stephen, who disappeared on Table Mountain on Monday.

Stephen's disappearance is made even more perplexing by the fact that his phone has been geolocated several times above Nettleton Road in Clifton.

According to Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR) spokesperson Johann Marais, the phone was traced at least three times and did not move while search teams with dogs and a helicopter combed the area throughout Tuesday.

“The missing person is a well-known trail runner who enjoys support from his fraternity. We had more than 120 WSAR operatives and volunteers searching for him [on Tuesday],” said Marais.

He said volunteers who intended to help needed to be “mountain savvy” and well equipped if they intended to come forward on Wednesday.

“You must report and ensure that you are enrolled on the WSAR records if you want to assist in the search. Stay in the team to which you are allocated and always sign out at the control point. It is for the duty manager to allow a volunteer to participate in a WSAR operation,” said Marais.

He said the teams had a large planning session on Tuesday night to discuss which parts of the mountain had been searched and which required further effort.

Lion's Head, Signal Hill and Cape Town, seen from Table Mountain.
Lion's Head, Signal Hill and Cape Town, seen from Table Mountain.
Image: Sharief Jaffer

A social media post by the Trail Running Association Western Province said Stephen went for a run between 2.30pm and 3.30pm on Monday, parking his car near the bottom of the Platteklip hiking trail on Tafelberg Road.

The post accompanied a picture of Stephen leaving his apartment which a source said was taken just before he went for his run. His friends alerted search crews to his disappearance on Monday night. His car was also reported when it was seen parked on Tafelberg Road late at night. 

They started the search about midnight, looking along the popular trail-running routes below Devil's Peak and towards Groote Schuur.

The WSAR requested anyone with information to call 021 937 0300.


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