Death stalks pair on re­mote bush road

Fa­ther cred­its sur­vival to Out­back-savvy son

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by Nathan Paull nathan. paull@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

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

Photo: SCOTT RAD­FORD-CHISHOLM

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

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