A British musician has died after being ambushed while birdwatching in the South African bush.
Simon Milliken, 60, and Perry So, 36, were in the Burman Bush nature reserve on Friday when they were attacked.
Milliken, who had recently retired from the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra and had a home in Durban, is said to have distracted the attacker while So, a Hong-Kong based visiting conductor ran for help.
Bongani Tembe, the orchestra’s artistic director, told The Times: “Perry So believes Simon did his best to defend him and told him to run in one direction while Simon attempted to escape a different way and took the attacker away from him. Perry is very distressed as he believes that Simon would still be alive if he had not made the offer to take him into the bush.”
Milliken’s body was not recovered until the next day, when a tracker dog was eventually brought to the scene. His camera had been stolen and he had stab wounds which had pierced his lungs.
A source told The Sun: “It looks like he could have bled to death during the night from a punctured lung and was alive for a long time.
“There are lots of questions being asked about the speed of the recovery and we’ll have to wait for the post-mortem examination.”
Ward councillor Martin Meyer told Durban-based East Coast Radio he had been working to improve safety in the reserve.
He said: “We’ve started setting up a conservancy to help improve the situation in the park – to get people to use the park in a safe environment. We’ve also managed to find some fencing to fix the fence. Many people come into the park using the holes in the fence. Unfortunately, all these measures are too late for Simon who tragically lost his life.”
Cathy Peacock, a trumpeter and close friend of Milliken said: “What has happened leaves me beyond words, trying to process this terrible tragedy.”