Search teams find hiker’s body at Mount Bogong
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.