LUCKY TO BE FOUND: The five bushwalkers Scott, Michael, Harold, Cam and Caleb with an image of where they were found on Monday.
LUCKY TO BE FOUND: The five bushwalkers Scott, Michael, Harold, Cam and Caleb with an image of where they were found on Monday.

Hikers tell their tale

THE five bushwalkers who went missing in the Whitsundays on Sunday say they never thought of the worst, despite being lost in dense bushland for more than a day.

Whitsunday residents Harold, 54, Cam, Michael and Scott, 16, and Caleb 15 emerged from the dense Cannon Valley bushland on Monday night after their trek to a waterfall went horribly wrong the previous day.

While their family and friends feared for their well-being, Harold said the group never once thought they wouldn’t come out alive.

"Everybody was fine," he said. "Not at one stage did we panic."

The group left on Sunday morning in search of a waterfall that Harold had been to at least 20 times over the past 10 years.

Harold said after finding the waterfall the group decided to continue to hike to the top of the ridge.

He said this is when they went off track.

"When the river got wide and big, we knew we were going in the wrong direction," he said.

"But we thought we would come out the other side."

By this stage it was almost dark and the group knew they would have to spend the night on a river bank, no wider than 3m.

The walkers were in shorts and t-shirts and had nothing to keep themselves warm in the cold conditions besides body warmth.

"Sunday night was the worst night of our lives, and the longest," Scott said.

"We were soaked and it didn’t stop raining.

"We didn’t stop shaking."

At first light the group resumed their trek to find their way out of the dense bushland but realised they were

heading in the wrong direction.

The bushwalkers spent the next few hours back tracking along the creek as they tried to find their way back to the top of the ridge.

A smile came to their faces when they heard a helicopter approaching.

The group recalled the RACQ CQ Rescue helicopter flying over them at least six times before they were spotted in a small gap.

Cam said he thought they would have had to walk out on their own.

"We never thought they would find us" he said.

"That was the smallest gap when they found us."

Knowing they were safe, the group gave the CQ Rescue crew the thumbs up to indicate that they were all ok.

Later that evening, at about 7pm, a specialist team met the group and led them out of the bush to safety.

Although they had been missing for more than 24 hours in cold, damp and dense bushland in nothing more than shirts and shorts and with no mobile phones, no food and no fresh water, the group emerged with only minor scratches.

While the group were rescued by what they described as a very dedicated group of emergency service workers, they never once thought their lives were in danger.

"We would’ve made it out," Harold said.

 

.

 

 

 

 

Knowing they were safe, the group gave the CQ Rescue crew  

 

 

 

A smile came to their faces when they heard a helicopter approaching.

The group recalled the RACQ CQ Rescue helicopter flying over them at least six times before they were spotted in a small gap. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

they would have to spend the night on a river bank, no wider than 3m.

The walkers were in shorts and t-shirts and had nothing to keep themselves warm in the cold

 


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