Police Inspector General visits Canyon Lodge - News - Gondwana Collection


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Police Inspector General visits Canyon Lodge

Avatar of inke inke - 22. juillet 2019 - Gondwana Collection

Gondwana’s Simon Andreas and Lieutenant General Sebastian Ndeitunga in front of the police helicopter at the Canyon Lodge.

Dirk Heinrich

Police helicopters have been on 26 search and rescue missions to the Fish River Canyon in southern Namibia during the past eight years. The total cost of dispatching helicopters to aid tourists who were lost, injured or ill amounts to more than two million Namibia dollars. These missions are not easy and very time-consuming: the helicopters are sent from Windhoek to Keetmanshoop (two hours), where they have to refuel. It then takes another 40 minutes to fly to the Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon on earth.

AS 350 B3 Squirrel is prepared for take-off at the lodge's football field early in the morning.

Recently (11 July 2019) the Inspector General of the Namibian Police Force, Lieutenant General Sebastian Ndeitunga, visited Keetmanshoop to introduce Commissioner David Indongo to his officers. Indongo took over as the regional commander for the //Karas Region when Commissioner Rudolf Isaacs went into retirement. General Ndeitunga travelled to Canyon Lodge after the inauguration to discuss cooperation in search and rescue missions with Simon Andreas, the Manager of the Gondwana Lodges in Gondwana Canyon Park.

The Chief of Police asked to store aviation fuel at the Canyon Lodge in order to save costs and valuable time by skipping the refuelling detour to Keetmanshoop. He also discussed the possibility to construct a surfaced helipad so that less dust is stirred up during take-offs and landings, potentially causing damage to the engine and moving parts of a helicopter. Andreas promised close and fruitful cooperation with the police force and pointed out that tourism would benefit. Hikers in the Fish River Canyon can now rest reassured that in case of emergency a police helicopter with an experienced pilot is at the ready. Furthermore, the police can also call on professional paramedics from private companies.

Hikers making their way to the bottom of the canyon to walk through the dry riverbed to Ai-Ais, a distance of 80 km.

Gondwana has been working closely with Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism for many years. NWR runs the Hobas Camp in the nature reserve at the canyon. Thanks to that cooperation countless tourists in distress have been found and rescued. Officials of the Ministry of Environment gave Inspector General Ndeitunga details after dinner at the Canyon Lodge.

The Commander of the NamPol Air Wing, Flip Blaauw, personally piloted Eurocopter AS 350 B3 Squirrel on a jaunt to show the Inspector General some of the locations below the canyon’s main lookout point from where tourists have been recovered. It was the first time that Namibia's highest-ranking police officer was able to see for himself under which circumstances his pilots and policemen are working when on a mission in and around the canyon.

A distinguished visitor to Canyon Lodge in the south of the country: the Inspector General of the Namibian Police Force, Sebastian Ndeitunga. From the left: Commissioner Schalk Meuwesen, who was stationed in this area from 1978 to 2000 and retires at the end of July this year, next to Lieutenant General Ndeitunga, Gondwana’s Simon Andreas and the Commander of the NamPol Air Wing, Commissioner Flip Blaauw.

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