Trio sorry for not telling ‘rescuers’ they were safe

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Three Belgian backpackers have continued their Aussie journey

Three overseas backpackers have apologised after sparking a massive police search operation in Victoria … and then not informing emergency services when they found their own way to safety.

The trio called triple-zero yesterday afternoon to report they were on foot and were unable to find their way back to Forrest-Apollo Bay Rd in Victorias Otway region.

The Herald-Sun newspaper reports that the groups phone battery then died, and a full-scale co-ordinated search and rescue mission was launched between Lorne and Forrest. It involved the air wing and four units for close to 24 hours. The helicopter had to refuel a number of times at Port Campbell throughout the search

The search was only called off after staff at the Surfside Backpackers in Apollo Bay read about the search and phoned the police to report that three Belgians in their 20s had checked into the hostel covered in mud.

Acting Senior Sergeant Craig McSwain said the men had apparently told the hostel staff that they had got lost in the vicinity of Kennett River and Mount Sabine.

“We’ve since spoken to the backpackers who are on their way to Adelaide,said Acting Senior Sergeant McSwain. They said they had contacted emergency services after their car got bogged, and apologised for inconvenience they caused.”

The Herald-Sun reports that, with the help of other tourists, the men had been able to free their car from the mud and make it back to their accommodation, but did not inform emergency services.

Acting-Sgt McSwain said the trio were oblivious to what had occurred and currently headed towards Mount Gambier.

He praised the police and emergency services for their efforts.

“They’ve all done a tremendous job considering the lack of information we’ve had,” he said.

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