Search teams find hiker’s body at Mount Bo­gong

Myrtleford Times - - News -

HIGH coun­try search and res­cue teams early last Sun­day found the body of an el­derly hiker out­side his tent half­way be­tween Cleve Cole and Michell huts on Mount Bo­gong, Vic­to­ria’ high­est peak.

Les­lie South­well, 88, had been tak­ing part in a par­al­lel walk­ing trip with a friend.

His friend left Cleve Cole Hut on Thurs­day morn­ing to walk to Michell Hut.

Mr South­well fol­lowed five min­utes later.

His friend ar­rived at Michell Hut that af­ter­noon and at first was not alarmed that Mr South­well had not turned up as he knew him to be fit, an ex­pe­ri­enced hiker and car­ry­ing three days’ sup­ply of food.

Later that evening his friend be­came con­cerned and re­traced his steps to­wards Cleve Cole, but be­cause of se­vere weather con­di­tions – with snow fall­ing and a tem­per­a­ture of -7.0 de­grees – he failed to find any trace of Mr South­well.

The sub­se­quent search – which in­cluded Vic­to­ria Po­lice res­cue, Bush Search and Res­cue and Bright State Emer­gency Ser­vice – led by Wan­garatta-based po­lice act­ing in­spec­tor Kevin Cough­lan es­tab­lished a stag­ing post at Mi- chell Hut and even­tu­ally found Mr South­well’s body on Sun­day at about 9am.

The hiker had pitched a tent about two kilo­me­tres north of Cleve Cole, a place known as Rock­ing Stone Sad­dle, but had col­lapsed on the ground in front of the tent.

Po­lice say there are no sus­pi­cious cir­cum­stances and are pre­par­ing a re­port for the coro­ner. Myrtleford Farm­ers’ Mar­ket cel­e­brates its first an­niver­sary on Satur­day – a year since it opened with the guid­ance of TAFCO’s Kerry Mur­phy, food for­ager and cook Franca Nor­ris and Tony Vac­caro. The mar­ket in Myrtleford pi­azza will fea­ture a demon­stra­tion of ‘mulling’ wine made from Alpine Val­leys Vignerons’ wine, Snow­line Stan­ley ap­ples and Sa­punars’ or­anges, Molly’s Dream will pro­vide entertainment and Myrtleford Agri­cul­tural and Pas­toral So­ci­ety mem­bers will be pro­mot­ing the Myrtleford Show. Alpine Pooper Doop­ers – Pore­punkah Pri­mary School’s so­cial en­ter­prise – will also re­turn with stocks of cow ma­nure for Myrtleford gar­dens.

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