Disoriented hikers lucky to be found
TWO ill-equipped young hikers from Melbourne had a lucky escape last Tuesday after becoming lost on the Razorback.
Senior Sergeant Doug Incoll of the Bright police said Parks Victoria contacted police after receiving a distressed phone call from the hikers, a 25-year old male and 21-year-old female, at 2.30pm.
“They had intended to walk to Federation Hut down the Razorback to Diamantina Spur, and they contacted Parks Victoria to say they were lost on the Razorback,” he said.
“I was communicating with them on the young man’s mobile phone and he told me they had lost their backpacks and only had a light rain coat each, a Bic lighter, iPhone, compass and a torch.”
With visibility down to around 500 metres, Snr Sgt Incoll said police utilised the man’s mobile phone and were able to identify their location.
“Their latitude and longitude position indicated that they were extremely close to the head of Champion Spur which is a track that leads you to the Razorback from Harrietville,” Snr Sgt Incoll said.
“We had the view that we could guide them towards Champion Spur and they could pick it up and begin to descend, but they still couldn’t find it as it was getting dark at around 5pm.
“I told them to stay where they were and we’d send someone up to find them.”
Snr Sgt Incoll said a group of four, including two police, one Parks Victoria and one SES mem- ber and two 4WD vehicles were deployed to Champion Spur.
“The search party were able to drive a fair way up Champion Spur as a dozer had cleared the track during the 2014 fires,” he said.
“They continued on foot and found the two hikers after about one hour.”
The mild weather worked in the hikers favour and Snr Sgt Incoll urged inexperienced hikers’ to stay away from the high country during the winter months.
“This could have been much, much worse – they were lucky the weather was favourable, although it was raining and cold they weren’t caught in the middle of a blizzard,” he said.
“This is another example of inexperienced people going into the high country unprepared and five-six police officers spent 10 hours trying to find them – it’s a huge waste of resources and I would encourage hikers to stay away from the high country during winter if they haven’t been up there in summer.
“If people are planning to head up to the high country during winter, please make sure you are extremely well prepared and are carrying all of the appropriate equipment including an epirb, maps, compass, warm clothes, food and most importantly know how to use it.
“I would also urge people to have a back-up power source for their phones as the cold sucks the power out of the battery much quicker than normal and don’t leave your backpacks unless you are 100 per cent sure you can locate them again.”