SA hunter missing without trace in Zimbabwe

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Polokwane – There is still no sign of a professional hunter from Marken, Limpopo, who has disappeared without a trace in Zimbabwe.

Scott van Zyl, 44, has been missing since Friday, Netwerk24 reported.

The owner of SS Pro Safaris had been on a hunting expedition with a tracker and his two dogs, using Chikwaraka camp in Zimbabwe as a base.

An extensive land and air search for him was launched on Friday. Gerhard Vos, a friend involved in the search, said on Sunday afternoon that there was still no sign of Van Zyl.

“We have found absolutely nothing.”

Private helicopters and crime fighting organisations – such as Heritage Protection Group, the SA Professional Hunters’ Association, and Limpopo’s search and rescue teams – continued their search on Sunday.

SANDF troops patrolling the border with Zimbabwe were also helping.

The different organisations, meanwhile, were trying to raise money to pay for the private helicopters taking part in the search. Vos said about R500 000 was needed because fuel for choppers was expensive.

According to information from people searching on foot, it seemed as if Van Zyl and his tracker left their bakkie behind and went into the veld on foot on Friday. Van Zyl’s gun and personal items were in the bakkie. Both men apparently went in separate directions.

Van Zyl’s dogs returned to the camp later in the day, but there was no sign of him. The unnamed tracker raised the alarm, informing authorities that Van Zyl was missing.

Helicopter search teams spotted Van Zyl’s backpack on the banks of the Limpopo River in Zimbabwe.

“His tracks ended right there,” one of the searchers said.

Van Zyl’s 41-year-old wife, Suré, is traumatised and is being supported by friends.

“She’s a wreck, because there has been no news about Scott,” said a family friend who preferred to remain anonymous.

They have two children, aged 11 and 7.

On his website, there are several pictures of Van Zyl and other hunters and his hunting dogs.

Fellow Outfitter Scott van Zyl (@SS Pro Safaris) went missing yesterday while hunting out of Chikwaraka Camp in… https://t.co/XrOZNxr1EW

— Merle Ann Wright-ing (@merle_ing) April 9, 2017

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