By Alex Bell
SW Radio Africa
09 January 2013
The family of a man, who disappeared during a hike up Mount Nyangani over the weekend, has pleaded for any assistance in trying to track him down.
The search and rescue operation for 31 year old tourist Zayd Dada entered day six on Thursday, with no sign yet of the missing man.
Dada, his wife and parents-in-law were visiting the Nyanga area on holiday, and had ventured out on a hike up the notorious Mount Nyangani on Saturday. When his family turned back to their holiday chalets, Dada continued on the hike on his own, but he never returned.
Since Saturday his family has been trying to coordinate search efforts, which were significantly hampered by poor weather and thick mist that descended on the mountain on Saturday.
Dada’s uncle Azhar Khan told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that the mist didn’t lift until earlier this week, “and we found it very difficult to look for him or find support, because no one wanted to go out in those conditions.”
“It was family members who started to liaise with locals chiefs, who alerted us to the notorious behavioural aspects of the mountain, the mists and traditional beliefs that surround the area, and how people have gone mission previously. It’s considered a bit of a Bermuda triangle and we’ve been searching ever since,” Khan said.
With clear skies and better weather, the search has been ratcheted up, with a numbers of volunteers, mountaineering groups and others joining the rescue efforts. The provincial Governor has also been assisting, liaising with locals, rescue teams and officers from the police, army and National Parks who have all been involved in the search.
So far, the only glimmer of hope, according to Khan, has come in the shape of a witness who claims to have seen Dada, and has provided the search parties with coordinates to where he might be.
Khan meanwhile added said that the family has needed to be mindful of the traditional, spiritual side of the search.
“The local chief has been instrumental in trying to do cleanses and rituals, and ask the spirits to return our beloved nephew to us,” Khan said.
A Facebook page titled ‘Let’s Find Zayd’ has been started, providing updates and details of the search. Anyone who wants to help in any way are encouraged to get in touch via the Facebook page.
“We are pleading for volunteers. If there is anyone out there able to come and join in the rescue efforts. We are on day six and a lot of the people that have been with us from the very beginning are totally exhausted. If people can donate their time, we would be indebted to you and totally filled with gratitude,” Khan said.
Mount Nyangani already has a mysterious reputation, and a number of people have previously disappeared while exploring there. This includes the two daughters of former government minister Tichaendepi Masaya.