Mum, sons spend chilly night lost
A Mandurah mother and her two little boys spent 13 hours lost in bush in the South West without food and water after taking a wrong turn during a walk on Saturday.
Janaya Brooking thanked police who rescued them after a planned quick walk to the dam in just bathers and singlets turned into a cold and tiring ordeal for her and sons Liam Slade, 5, and three-year-old Noah Bayens.
They went for a walk at their secluded camping spot in the Jarrahwood State Forest, near Upper Capel, about lunchtime on Saturday, taking with them just a litre of apple juice.
When they did not return, Ms Brooking’s father — who was still at the campsite — looked for them before raising the alarm with police about 6pm.
Ms Brooking and her boys were found about 1am Sunday — cold, tired and dehydrated after walking about 5km but happy to be safe, Donnybrook Sgt Ryan van der Heide said.
Ms Brooking admitted she had not expected to be found overnight and was relieved when she saw headlights on the road as they huddled together trying to sleep.
“I really appreciate every single police officer who was out there last night looking,” she said.
Ms Brooking said she and her sons became lost returning from the dam and eventually decided to stay put when they reached a main road, knowing someone would look for them.
“It was pretty scary,” she recalled, of the moments she lost her way back to the camp. “I started trying to go down every single track that looked familiar and they all started looking pretty familiar. I felt like I was going in circles.”
Sgt van der Heide said officers had tracked the trio’s footprints.
“Some of the tracks were reasonably open so the footprints could be followed but they were in areas that vehicles couldn’t access,” he said.
Bad mobile phone reception had made the search more difficult.
He urged people to carry personal location beacons that would enable them to quickly alert authorities if they were in danger and would give the coordinates of where they were.