Tourist survives mountain ordeal

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The Independent Online

An Israeli tourist has been rescued in Mozambique after being lost on a mountain for two weeks, forced to live on a bar of chocolate and a nectarine.

Ifat Madar, 22, had set out to climb Zimbabwe's Kweza Peak from a mountain hut on 21 July. She lost her way, however and became stranded in the inhospitable eastern highlands for two weeks, surviving only on her meagre rations and water before eventually crossing the border into Mozambique. She was rescued by Mozambican officials on their side of Kweza Peak

She flew back to Israel yesterday with her father Ammon, who had flown to Zimbabwe to help search for her.

"It's good to be back," Ms Madar told staff at the Outward Bound Centre in the Chimanimani mountains bordering Mozambique, which co-ordinated the search for her.

"It was like a bad dream from which I desperately wanted to wake up."

She said she had not seen any people during her marathon ordeal.

The young tourist set out to climb Kweza Peak but was soon lost and alone. When she failed to return that night, others at the hut raised the alarm and the biggest rescue effort in the area for years was launched.

The team included a Swiss rescue specialist, Outward Bound and national parks staff, local people and volunteers from around Zimbabwe, who were supported by two helicopters.

Guy Cary, Zimbabwe director of Outward Bound, said: "The response to Ms Madar's plight was heartwarming. People rushed to help her."

But after a week, the search team anticipated only finding her dead and changed the nature of the search. "We began looking for a body. It was raining and bitterly cold up there," Mr Cary said.

Not only are the Chimanimani mountains cold, but other hazards await those who get lost – snakes, wild animals, including leopards, sheer cliffs and heavy mists. "We were absolutely amazed that she survived," Mr Cary said.