Source AP ©

Rescuers find Canadian couple killed by wildfire in South Africa

The bodies of a Canadian couple, engulfed by wildfire, were found Wednesday in the northern Drakensberg mountains.

The husband and wife - whose identities were not known by late afternoon - went missing last Thursday, the South African Press Association reported.

The Canadian High Commission in Pretoria had no immediate comment, an official said Wednesday.

Wildlife official Jeff Gaisford told the SAPA that the couple had gone for a walk on the Tiger Falls path, between Thendele and the Mahai Campsite.

"Unbeknown to them, a runaway fire, fanned by strong winds had swept across the nearby Tugela River and was heading toward Thendele," he said.

"The fire swept rapidly up the slope toward the Tiger falls area, where it apparently engulfed the couple who were at that stage still walking along the path, burning them to death," Gaisford said.

The couple had arrived early for their booking, and they decided to take a walk while their accommodation became available, SAPA reported.

The alarm was sounded when their vehicle was spotted outside the lodge on Monday, and a search party was sent out.

The bodies were found 8 kilometers (5 miles) away from the Thendele Royal National Park in Bergville deep within the mountains.

SAPA reported that police forced open the couple's vehicle, and found some contact details for relatives.

Firefighters battled for three days to extinguish the blaze, which damaged the thatched roofs of several camp units, Gaisford said

Police said they were hoping to contact relatives of the couple who live in the south coast town of Port Elizabeth.

Police spokeswoman Captain Charmaine Struwig said Canadian officials in South Africa were involved in efforts to determine the identity of the couple.

Sporadic wildfires have swept through large parts of South Africa in recent weeks claiming a number of lives and destroying houses, livestock and huge swathes of farmland.

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