David van Blommenstein (29), head ranger of the Thornybush Private Nature Reserve's northern section passed away last week after a tragic accident. David, who had been with Thornybush for four years, resigned from the Reserve at the end of July, 2005. Friends and colleagues bid him farewell at a function on Tuesday, August 30.
Although he left the reserve the following day, he invited close friends from the area and Gauteng to join in a final farewell over the weekend at a friend's farm, adjacent to Thornybush. On Saturday afternoon the group went on a game drive. They headed for an adjacent 900ha section of land, recently acquired from Albert Mostert and soon to be added to the Reserve.
At a fork in the road, David, who had been handling the spotlight searching for game from the tracker's seat on the nose of the vehicle, fell off at the turn. He was immediately comatose. Jonathan Baretta, manager of the Reserve's southern section was alerted on the radio and hastened to the scene.
David was taken to the Air Force Base Hoedspruit hospital, from where he was transferred to Johannesburg. He underwent brain surgery, but remained in a coma until his death on Wednesday afternoon.