Death stalks pair on remote bush road
Father credits survival to Outback-savvy son
A MAN who was stranded on a remote north-west road for two days feared his friends who left his bogged vehicle to search for help would die on their rescue mission.
Renal patient Duncan Mick, 47, and son Hilton, 18, stayed behind in their Commodoresedan on Thorntonia Rd between Mount Isa and Doomadgee while his sister-inlaw Delphina Albert, 33, and her partner Darren Gregory, 3 4 , trekked more than 40km to find hel p , eventually reaching t he Gregory Downs Hotel to call for aid. The car became bogged on Friday afternoon, but it was not until late Sunday afternoon that a rescue chopper arrived for Duncan and his son.
– Duncan Mick on his son Hilton
Duncan said he began to fear the worst for his friends, who trekked along the muddy road and through swollen rivers, with little more than the clothes on their back, to find help.
‘‘ I was a bit concerned and I thought they wouldn’t have made it,’’ he said.
Duncan, who was two days late for his dialysis treatment by the time he was rescued, said he would not have survived either if it were not for his bush-savvy son.
‘‘ He’d been born and bred in the bush, so I knew I still would have survived out there with him beside me,’’ he said.
Hilton said he’d collected a range of ‘‘ bush tucker’’ for them both to eat, including wild bananas and bush cucumbers, while they waited to be rescued.
He also gathered sandalwood leaves to give to his sick father.
‘‘ It’s the number one medicine,’’ he said. ‘‘ It goes straight to where you hurt and fixes it right up.’’
But Hilton said the scariest moment came when a black snake slithered out from under the car they were waiting in.
‘‘ He went across the road to the other side and I spotted it and my pop nearly walked right into him, so I said ‘ woah, woah old fella, pull up’,’’ he said. ‘‘ Then we chased it away.’’ Duncan said he could not have been prouder of his son, sister-inlaw and her partner.
‘‘ I was a million miles happy, I’d like to thank them ( all) for doing things like that,’’ he said.
‘‘ If we didn’t have them, we’d still be out there I reckon.’’
Hilton said when the rescue chopper first flew over, rescuers couldn’t see them waiting on the car’s roof, but when it returned, he jumped on the bonnet and waved a white pillow around until he saw the chopper prepare to land.
Duncan said while he knew he would be safe with his son looking after him, relief washed over him once he saw the chopper touch down on the road.
‘‘ I was real frightened out there on the road stuck in the middle of nowhere. I thought something was going to happen ( with my kidneys),’’ he said.
Duncan received his overdue dialysis treatment once he arrived at the Townsville Hospital on Sunday afternoon and yesterday said he was feeling fine, ready to return to Doomadgee.
He’d been born and bred in the bush, so I knew I still would have survived out there with him beside me
BACK ON SAFE GROUND: Safe after their outback ordeal, Duncan Mick, with his son Hilton, 18, who collected sandalwood leaves in case his Dad needed pain relief while they were stranded on a remote road