Missing hikers found safe and well
Two Singaporean hikers who sparked a search after getting lost in the Kalbarri National Park on Wednesday night were found safe and well yesterday morning.
Police and State Emergency Service search crews battled through dangerous conditions on Wednesday night but were unable to find the two women, aged 26 and 40, who had failed to return from a hike to the Nature’s Window beauty spot.
A police helicopter and a fixed wing aircraft were despatched yesterday morning to help find the missing hikers, who were found walking on the track about 9am.
The women were inexperienced hikers and they had not taken any food or water on the walk.
Kalbarri SES unit manager Stephen Cable said the pair were tired, hungry and thirsty but lucky to have escaped uninjured after their ordeal.
“I was half expecting they had fallen over a cliff face or something,” he said.
“We were concerned because we walked the entire loop twice and we hadn’t spotted them.”
Mr Cable said the women became lost after starting their hike too late in the afternoon.
“It takes about three to five hours to complete the loop, and when it got a bit dark they tried to take a short cut and got themselves completely disorientated. But they were smart enough to try to seek a bit of shelter and wait for the morning.
“They managed to find the track again in the daylight.”
He said search crews had endured poor weather and risked their safety during Wednesday night’s search.
“It was very dangerous because it was pouring with rain and very slippery,” Mr Cable said.
“It is tough, rocky, undulating country with dangerous cliffs and trip hazards all the way, so it wouldn’t have been hard to slip off an edge.
“It’s challenging enough during the day, but at night-time it’s a whole new level — it wouldn’t have been hard for things to go pearshaped.” Mr Cable said the search had been a shining example of the organisational and communication skills of SES and police rescue teams.
“We put out search teams on Wednesday night and searched the loop — which is shaped like a horseshoe — so we sent one team one way and one team the other way, and we crossed over and came back again,” he said. “We did the callingand-listening technique but they didn’t respond, so then with the police and SES it was decided we’d have to come back in the morning and escalate the search.
“We put a plan together, we got in more sources, we booked aircraft and helicopters, we put teams out in the field and we managed to find them.”
Search teams found the missing hikers yesterday morning after enduring miserable conditions the night before.