Published on : Wednesday, September 18, 2019
A hiker with extensive experience dragged himself for two days through rugged Australian wilderness with a broken arm and leg after falling about 20 feet down a waterfall and then losing his mobile phone Sunday.
Neil Parker, 54, was recovering in a Brisbane hospital after he was rescued by a search helicopter crew around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday from Mount Nebo on the city’s outskirts.
The Brisbane resident told reporters from his hospital bed Wednesday that he expected the Sunday trek around Cabbage Tree Creek to be about a three-hour hike, as he’s done before.
However, about an hour and forty minutes into the hike, he slipped on one of the rocks and fell down a waterfall, landing at the bottom of a deep gully after bouncing off multiple ledges.
Park said at a bedside news conference that he tried using his cellphone, but found it was out of range. When he attempted to put it in back in his backpack, he fumbled it and dropped it in the creek.
“Now, I have no way of contacting the outside world and I’m thinking, ‘the only way to get rescued is self-rescue,'” Parker said.
He managed to splint his broken left leg with walking poles and snake bite bandages that he carried in his hiking kit. His left arm was also broken above the wrist.
Parker said he dragged himself along the creek to a more commonly used walking track, taking two days to cover a distance that he had walked in 40 minutes on Sunday before the fall.
“I was getting very emotional thinking this is not a nice way to die, just lying here,” he said.
Parker told reporters that he barely slept during his painful trek but was able to drink water from a creek nearby and had food supplies.
The media outlet also reported that area temperatures can reach 87 degrees in the daytime and fall to 42 degrees at night. Thankfully, the weather was mostly clear during the hiker’s ordeal.
The Queensland Government Air Service launched a search on Monday after he failed to turn up for work and his boss called his ex-wife, who raised the alarm.
Rescuers found Parker underneath a tree in a small clearing near the end of their first search, according to their Facebook page. He was then flown by helicopter to the nearest hospital for treatment.