Rampaging baboons break three hikers’ legs in horrifying waterfall attack

Three mountain climbers were left with broken legs after they were attacked by a troop of angry baboons.

The adventurers were bombarded with a hail of rocks after the animals to expectation to them abseiling in their remote mountain territory.

A group of seven had just reached a narrow ledge at a waterfall in the Banhoek Mountains near Stellenbosch, in the Western Cape province of South Africa, when two of the hikers rappelled down further

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It was then that the remaining five were set upon by the baboons, with at one point a a 130lb boulder being thrown at them.

The huge rock shattered on impact – sending razor sharp rock shards flying like shrapnel and breaking the legs of three hikers who collapsed in agony.

A fourth hiker suffered a flesh wound while the fifth, who was hit by a piece of the boulder, was very nearly knocked over the edge but was luckily saved by his safety harness.

The hikers’ ordeal was far from over, though, as dozens more rocks were rained down on them from the baboons above forcing them to shelter in by the cliff face.

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One of the hikers managed to make an SOS call for help and the Air Mercy Service helicopter was dispatched to help, with a team from Wilderness Search and Rescue [WSAR] on board.

The baboons had moved on so the WSAR paramedics could be winched down and put the most seriously injured victim in a stretcher and winch him to the chopper.

They then hoisted the two other men with broken legs up to the chopper and all three were dropped off at a rendezvous point where ambulances were waiting.

The other four managed to make their own way back down the cliffs.

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WSAR spokesman Johann Marais said: “We commend the two uninjured hikers for remaining calm and doing a fantastic job caring for the inured and wish them a speedy recovery”.

A baboon expert who specialises in rescuing the primates from urban areas said: "Baboons are capable of throwing rocks but they can only throw them underarm.

"Their shoulder blades are at a different angle to the ribs than in humans and are flat in to their side they have to throw underarm but can throw very hard.

She added: "Whether they were deliberately throwing the rocks at the hikers or just dislodging them I guess will never be known but that was a lot of rocks to accidentally dislodge.

"Baboons are curious and can become easily upset by things they are not used to and would be used to humans walking along cliff paths but not abseiling down them.

"It takes a lot to accidentally dislodge a 60kg boulder."

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All three patients are recovering after being taken to hospital.

The Cape baboon is one of the world's biggest monkeys. Some examples can weigh up to 80lbs and grow to 4 feet long not including the tail. and have 5 inch teeth.

The animals, which form troops up to 50 strong, can run at speeds approaching 30mph. In addition to their devastating rock-throwing ability they have fearsome five-inch teeth, but will only attack if they feel threatened.


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