Couple rescued after spending several days bogged on remote Nullarbor Track

Published: May 15, 2024

A couple in their 50s have been rescued following a large-scale land search operation after they became bogged on a remote Nullarbor track.

The pair, named by media as Carl and Rose Jakeway, spent several days stuck about 20 kilometres south south-west of Cocklebiddy, between Caiguna and Eucla, before activating their personal locator beacon.

Police say they were initially unable to access the area due to recent heavy rain but Police Air Wing was eventually able to locate the white Ford Ranger utility Ford.

Officers were able to get the vehicle out of the mud.

The couple were both uninjured and in good health after their ordeal.

The Jakeways, from Clare Valley in South Australia, told the ABC they were heading west to visit family when they decided to go ‘backtracking’ south of Cocklebiddy Roadhouse.

However, they ran into trouble when they reached a damp stretch of track.

“Other vehicles had been through it,” Mr Jakeway, 56, told the ABC. “We got three-quarters of the way across what was probably a 40-metre area and the left-hand side of the car just sunk into the ground.”

The pair, who are reportedly experienced bush drivers, spent the next three days trying to dig out their ute … but without success.

“We’ve been stuck before, but mainly in sandy country,” Mr Jakeway said. “We spent days digging and digging, just trying to get this red clay out of there.”

The ABC reports that the couple, who were well stocked with food,  initially resisted the urge to activate their personal locator beacon, thinking they would eventually dig themselves out.

However, when their jack broke, they decided it was time to signal their distress.

“There was no way I could jack up the vehicle any more to try and get sticks and rocks under any wheels, to give us some clearance,” Mr Jakeway told the ABC. “Once the jack broke, that was it.”

Mr Jakeway stressed how important it was to inform friends and family of travel plans, and of having a personal locator beacon.

“We bought that many years ago and it’s one of those things you buy that you hope you never have to use,” he said. “But I’m very glad we had it there.

Goldfields-Esperance Police Inspector Mick Kelly told the ABC the couple had done the right thing.

“The occupants stayed with their vehicle and had sufficient resources to be there for several days,” he said.

However, Inspector Kelly also urged Nullarbor travellers to refer to the Main Roads website.

“The ground is still quite wet from the heavy rains that we experienced,” he told the ABC. “It is still very boggy.”

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Should have checked out with WA main roads before setting off.
Better 2 vehicles trips like this,Good to see had personal locator
Least stayed with vehicle
That area washed washed out ,Rail line as well

Several years ago my wife, teenage son and I took a short cut across a salt pan outside Wyndham to go see the boab tree used as a holding pen by cops in the old horse patrol days. We took that track on a tip from a fellow traveller. But unfortunately our car began to bog in wet clay and we were doomed. The teenage son then trucked a couple of ks to an airstrip and found a phone to call for help. The Aboriginal Police Aide who came out to rescue us knew the pitfalls so he parked well away on solid ground and winched us out. On inspection we found the clay stuck to the wheels like glue and was going nowhere until scraped off. A lesson learnt was that off road tracks in our outback areas hide many traps and must be negotiated carefully.


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