Couple found safe
Search for elderly pair ends happily
OLD habits die hard, so it was little surprise an elderly New Norfolk couple missing for nearly 24 hours were found doing what they have always enjoyed — sitting together looking over the water.
But the serenity of the scene by the River Derwent last Wednesday was in stark contrast to the frantic efforts to find them overnight on Tuesday.
Gordon Pickery, 83, and his wife Hazel, 79, who both have dementia, went missing about noon on Tuesday after a trip to the supermarket.
Having just relocated from northern Tasmania to Corum- bene Nursing Home a few weeks ago, they did not know the area well.
“They had gone shopping but unfortunately they’re probably not familiar with the area and for whatever reason they’ve gone for a walk,” Tasmania Police Inspector George Cretu said.
After no sign of them by 8pm, family and Corumbene contacted police. Time was a critical factor on the cold night in the Derwent Valley where temperatures dipped below 0C.
Police sent out a helicopter, patrol boat and a search and rescue team. Triangulating phone signals from the couple’s mobile — which was going un- answered — police narrowed down their location to between New Norfolk and the Salmon Ponds along Glenora Rd.
SES volunteers searched through the night while police did mobile patrols in the area.
On Wednesday morning, authorities received valuable information from the public regarding sightings of the couple.
They were found just before 9am sitting by the river at a fishing spot about 2km from where they were last seen.
“Police on site tell me that both Gordon and Hazel had no real memory of how they got to be where they were and were overwhelmed by the amount of police attention,” Insp Cretu said.
“They were confused. They were in good spirits (and) well.”
He said the family, who live in the area, were “very relieved and grateful” their loved ones were found safe and well.