Mum, sons spend chilly night lost

Manjimup-Bridgetown Times - - Front Page - Emily Baker and Gabrielle Knowles

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.

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