Missing 74-year-old hiker rescued after huge search

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A police car at Mount Augustus during the search for the missing 74-year-old woman. PIC: Supplied / ABC

After another near tragedy, police are again urging grey nomads and other travellers to be properly prepared for any activity they undertake in remote areas.

The appeal follows the rescue of a 74-year-old woman who had been missing for 24 hours after going for a ‘short’ bushwalk in the Mount Augustus area, in Western Australia’s Gascoyne region.

A land and air search operation was launched for the elderly Perth woman after she failed to return from what was supposed to be a 20-minute walk on the Edney’s trail.

The ABC reports that the woman was eventually found by searchers and taken on a stretcher to receive medical attention for dehydration, cuts and bruises.

Mt Augustus, also known as Burringurrah, is said to be the largest monolith in Australia. It is 465 kilometres from the Gascoyne town of Carnarvon and a two-day drive from Perth.

The ABC reports that police have previously urged visitors to be prepared when travelling in the area after a couple was found dead on a popular walking trail last month, just days after a woman’s body was discovered at the same site.

The Department of Parks and Wildlife warns the risks from exposure and dehydration are significant in the area, with temperatures often exceeding 40 degrees Celsius in summer.

The department’s website urges tourists to walk in groups of three or more, to tell someone trusted and reliable about any hiking plans, and states that each person must carry and drink three to four litres of water for each day of walking.

  • Have you ever been caught out – or nearly caught out – on a bushwalk? What can be done to keep people safer in the Outback? Comment below.
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One Response to Missing 74-year-old hiker rescued after huge search

  1. My husband and I also got lost at My Augustus a couple of years ago. We managed to find a fire trail and walked out. An easy short walk turned into an hour of wondering where we were. We managed to miss one of the National Parks posts on the very “unmarked” dry creek bed and then when trying to back track to the last marker we became totally lost. Every direction we went for a short period just looked exactly the same and took us to a point where we had no idea where we started.
    My calm headed husband made the decision to walk south in the creek bed keeping the Mt on our right and in the direction of the car park. While walking it felt like we were walking on the spot as the landscape, including Mt Augustus didn’t seem to change, making it very hard to pick a place to use as a landmark. We finally found the fire trail and walked back to the road.
    With my husband being a diabetic we always have snacks and water, also lightweight jackets. It was a lesson learnt not to move to far from one marker until sighting the next marker. We actually found some of the walks at Augustus a bit hard to site the next marker. They were often not that obvious in quite a few places but, we had learnt our lesson the first day so never moved until we found the following marker.
    Mt Augustus is an amazing visit and one we would recommend but, BEWARE and be careful to stay on the track.
    We never reported the incident, not even thinking it was important, and feeling a bit stupid for getting lost. However after reading the report of the lady who got lost I wondered if we should have let staff know we found some of the NP markers confusing on all the walks we followed.
    The only walk that needed you to sign in on a register was the summit walk so we felt we wouldn’t be missed until two days later on check out.
    I’ve shared our story in good faith to help other grey nomads when bushwalking so would appreciate no lectures on having epirbs, should have ….. etc happy travels everyone.

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