Rescue rush after false reports of helicopter crash

Thousands of Rands, resources and manpower were wasted last weekend when a false post on social media reported a helicopter crash on the mountain in Schoemansville.

One of the photos that was posted of the supposed helicopter crash.

A post reporting a helicopter crash on the mountain above Karel Street was reported on Facebook around lunchtime on Sunday, causing panic and the alert of police, security and rescue operations. Photos of smoke on the mountain where the supposed crash took place were widely circulated.

Rescue teams, the police and residents responded and tracked up the mountain to find the ‘crash site’. A helicopter was obtained to investigate the report. After hours of scouring the mountain, it was established that the report was false. The smoke was seemingly from a small bushfire in the mountain.

According to Arthur Crewe of the Hartbeespoort NSRI and SRU High Risk Security, a rescue team was dispatched up the mountain to assist immediately after the post. “One cannot ignore a post like that,” he said.

Romano van der Spuy, chairman of the Hartbeespoort Community Policing Forum told Kormorant it was a very unfortunate incident of people not confirming information and causing panic. “It was a huge waste of resources and manpower due to unconfirmed and irresponsible reports,” he said. “Our security structures and residents spent hours looking for the site. We request people to make sure they have the correct and confirmed information before posting it on public social media. It can cause a lot of unnecessary panic and damage.”

The Facebook post on a popular local community Facebook page was removed soon after it was established that the report was false.