How to die in the bush …

Mutawintji National Park, NSW.

A 24-year-old woman telephoned emergency services about noon on Tuesday to say the group, from country Victoria, were lost, after the Hyundai Excel the trio were travelling in crashed.

Her Triple-0 call cut out, with little to no reception in the rugged terrain. Emergency crews used GPS co-ordinates to trace the call to inside the national park, but by the time they located the car about 8pm, the group had abandoned it. Police, SES and paramedics called off the search at nightfall and resumed it yesterday morning.

At 9.40am, after walking about 20km, the woman arrived at a sheep station in Acacia Downs and raised the alarm. She appeared to be in “reasonable health” according to police, telling officers she had left the two men at a water hole.

The men were found five hours later about 15 km apart, one was dead the other seriously dehydrated. The dead man was 33.

Remember this … all three were alive when their car was found and would probably have remained so if they had not left it.

Even the Red Kangaroo must take shelter and conserve moisture during the heat of the day.

Unforgiving …

Australia can be a harsh and unforgiving land.

Mauritz ‘Mo’ Pieterse, 25, died when he and a workmate became stranded while inspecting bores on the Ethabuka nature reserve, in Queensland’s southwest on Monday.

Police say the men tried to walk about 10km back to a house on the reserve in 45-degree heat, but Mr Pieterse couldn’t make the distance. <The Australian>.

Ethabuka is a Bush Heritage property acquired in 2004. It is situated on the northern rim of the Simpson desert.

Mo was experienced in outback conditions but paid the ultimate price anyway. He certainly isn’t the first.

Caroline Grossmueller’s story can be found <HERE>. There are a number of lessons to be learnt from the trail of events that led to her entirely unnecessary death.

Bird watching attracts a few of us to these remote places. Australia’s top twitcher, Mike CarterĀ  and his wife were stranded for 15 days near Jupiter Well on the Gary Junction Highway in 1991 due to vehicle failure. Their plight was compounded by the failure of a responsible local to act on their non-return. They did everything they could to avoid the heat and unnecessary water loss and were rescued alive.

Even well maintained vehicles can get bogged or break down. Be prepared, know how to rescue a bogged vehicle, winch and shovel are essential.

Let someone know where you are going and set a deadline for action if you don’t get back.

Take plenty of water and then some more.

Take a satellite phone or radio … it’s the 21st century.

Stay with the vehicle … it’s way easier to find than a person on foot.

Make shade, rest in it to keep as cool as you can, drink thoughtfully … don’t waste it but remember it’s the water in your body that keeps you alive not the water in your water bottle!

Patience.