Canadian couple stabbed in South Africa

A Toronto couple hiking in South Africa were recovering in hospital Wednesday after being stabbed several times at a nature reserve.
Martin and Janet Stern recover in a South African hospital after they were mugged and stabbed during a morning hike Tuesday. ((Michael Walker/Cape Times))

A Toronto couple hiking in South Africa were recovering in hospital Wednesday after being stabbed several times at a nature reserve.

Martin Stern, 59, and Janet Stern, 57, were found Tuesday bound, beaten and bleeding from stab wounds in the Fernkloof Nature Reserve, which is about 150 kilometres from Cape Town.

They are in stable condition, investigating officer David Payne confirmed to CBC News on Wednesday.

The Cape Times reported that the couple had been out hiking around 7 a.m. Tuesday when the attack occurred. Several items were taken from the Sterns, including cellphones, rings and a digital camera. 

Fellow hikers found the pair about 2½ hours later, tied up with shoelaces and bleeding badly from their arms, legs and necks. The attackers had also hit them with stones, the Times said.

Helicopter diverted

Police were attempting to airlift another hiker's body found just east of the reserve when they were told about the Sterns. ((CBC))

Police diverted a nearby helicopter, which was attempting to airlift a body found just east of the reserve, to pick up the Sterns and take them for emergency care.

The Sterns have lived in Canada for two decades but are originally from South Africa.

Police are looking for two suspects in connection with the attack. Local officials immediately condemned the attack, which happened as South Africa prepares to host soccer's World Cup in June.

"We must not allow these kinds of attacks or crimes against anybody in our country, specifically because the eyes of the world are on us at the moment, as we are gearing to host one of the biggest events in the world," Alan Winde, a Western Cape Tourism official, told South Africa's Eyewitness News.

Police have not yet identified the body they found near the reserve, according to the Times.