Two bushwalkers missing in Ettrema. Police asking for info

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Two bushwalkers missing in Ettrema. Police asking for info

Postby wildwanderer » Thu 13 Dec, 2018 9:16 am

Tough country to be missing in. Emergency services are requesting anyone who knows the two walkers, their fitness levels and what type of equipment they might be carrying to contact the police helpline.. Full details in the SMH article.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/des ... 50lx0.html
A large-scale search has resumed for bushwalkers who have been missing since the weekend in bushland west of Nowra.

Police believe 59-year-old William McCarthy and 60-year-old Francisca Boterhoven De Haan, went bushwalking in the Ettrema Gorge in Ettrema on Saturday.
Francisca Boterhoven De Haan and William McCarthy are believed to be missing in bushland west of Nowra.

Inspector Ray Stynes said the pair had planned to go on a three-day bushwalk, and the alarm was raised with police about 1.30pm on Wednesday when Mr McCarthy failed to return to his Canberra home as planned.

"They’re a day overdue, so that’s when we got notified," he said.

Police from the South Coast Police District and SES volunteers then began searching the dense bushland of Ettrema Gorge in the Morton National Park, helped by police, ambulance and Westpac helicopters.

About 4pm, Mr McCarthy's car was found in a car park on Tolwong Road in Ettrema, but Inspector Stynes said no other belongings have been found.

"'[We] found a car yesterday afternoon, and we're using that as the start point for the search," he said.

The search was suspended overnight and resumed at 7am on Thursday.

"At the moment we’ve got search teams on foot already in place in the bush, they're just waiting for weather to improve so they can continue their search," Inspector Stynes said.

"Weather permitting, we’ll have more aircraft in the air and just concentrating on that area of the gorge."

While the weather is not expected to be as bad as last month’s wild storms, Weatherzone said the next few days will experience “extreme weather”.

Inspector Styne said search coordinators were concerned about the weather, with poor visibility and significant rainfall expected to hit the area over the next 24 hours.

"At the moment, visibility is up to about 100 metres in the gorge, 200 metres at the top of the gorge, and we're expecting rain and thunderstorms this afternoon," he said.

The Inspector said bushland in the national park was "fairly thick", making the search difficult.
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"It’s a gorge so obviously it's got cliff edges and it’s hard to access," he said.

Inspector Stynes said searchers have serious concerns for the pair's welfare, because it is unclear how many supplies they have and they are not believed to have an emergency beacon.

He urged anyone who might know about Mr McCarthy and Ms Boterhoven De Haan's bushwalking capacity, or what equipment they might have with them, to contact police.

"If they know of any equipment that they've brought with them that we wouldn't know about, then just their experience and fitness levels, if people could contact the police and give us that information then we can forward that on to the rescue coordinators," he said.
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Re: Two bushwalkers missing in Ettrema. Police asking for in

Postby Nuts » Thu 13 Dec, 2018 9:55 am

We climbed out via the wrong spur, quickly realised before even reaching the tops.. but then you really just need to walk west (or east (?)) to reach a road. The scrub wasn't exactly 'thick' but with the climb, & with the road diverging from the river, it did take a long time.
"The guides are all complaining there's mobile reception and hot showers," Godfrey laughs.
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Re: Two bushwalkers missing in Ettrema. Police asking for in

Postby Zapruda » Thu 13 Dec, 2018 10:06 am

I saw this earlier to day. Very worrying. Hopefully they are somewhere sheltered and out of this rain.
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Re: Two bushwalkers missing in Ettrema. Police asking for in

Postby Walk_fat boy_walk » Thu 13 Dec, 2018 11:05 am

Yes very rough country and lot of rain overnight and today too... Ettrema can be prone to flooding. Hope they're OK
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Re: Two bushwalkers missing in Ettrema. Police asking for in

Postby Nuts » Thu 13 Dec, 2018 12:11 pm

The steep slopes around the cliffs are draped in tussock grass which becomes 'handholds', it would be extra dangerous when wet. They may be good things, not being found quickly and rain (if away from the gorge).
"The guides are all complaining there's mobile reception and hot showers," Godfrey laughs.
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Re: Two bushwalkers missing in Ettrema. Police asking for in

Postby wildwanderer » Thu 13 Dec, 2018 12:29 pm

An updated article from the ABC - https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-13/ ... s/10614524

"The terrain is very treacherous," Ray Steyne from Nowra police said.

"You have to be experienced to go through there.

"The two bushwalkers are avid bushwalkers with limited experience."


EDIT.

Another article. Updated from SMH. Interview with the son of one of the walkers. Seems one of them does have some experience in the area after all..which is good news.
https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/des ... 50lx0.html

"She was excited about getting in with nature and go swimming in all the waterfalls - she loves swimming and does it everywhere she goes," the 23-year-old said.

"Mum’s an extremely active hiker, she just loves hiking - she’s travelled all over the world hiking and has spent the past three years hiking almost continuously."


Mr Rogers said this was the first time his mum had done the hike but said he believed Mr McCarthy had done it previously.

"I am worried but I’m also very confident in my mum and William who I know is also an experienced outdoor person," he said.
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Re: Two bushwalkers missing in Ettrema. Police asking for in

Postby Allchin09 » Thu 13 Dec, 2018 11:27 pm

SMH article updated, apparently have made contact via phone and are safe :)

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/des ... 50lx0.html

A pair of hikers missing since the weekend in bushland west of Nowra have made contact with emergency services and are alive and well, taking shelter as severe thunderstorms batter the region.

Police confirmed on Thursday evening that 60-year-old Francisca Boterhoven De Haan and 59-year-old Canberra lawyer William McCarthy had been in touch via mobile phone and let searchers know they were safe.

"They’ve told us that they’re safe, they’re in good spirits, good health, they have shelter and they are not injured," a spokeswoman for NSW Police said on Thursday evening.

The pair were advised to stay put under shelter and wait out the storms.

"It’s too dangerous to send more people out into the bush," the spokeswoman said.

Searchers will resume their efforts at 7am and expect to extract the hikers from the Ettrema Gorge, where they are located, on foot.
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Re: Two bushwalkers missing in Ettrema. Police asking for in

Postby wildwanderer » Fri 14 Dec, 2018 6:36 am

Excellent news :)
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Re: Two bushwalkers missing in Ettrema. Police asking for in

Postby Nuts » Fri 14 Dec, 2018 10:08 am

Good, the heebie geebies were rising.

Parks NSW do have this: https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/sa ... ntion-form .. and an equally limited beacon hire service.
"The guides are all complaining there's mobile reception and hot showers," Godfrey laughs.
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Re: Two bushwalkers missing in Ettrema. Police asking for in

Postby north-north-west » Fri 14 Dec, 2018 11:31 am

Grouse. Can't have been easy finding a spot where they'd get a phone signal in there.
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Re: Two bushwalkers missing in Ettrema. Police asking for in

Postby kymboy » Fri 14 Dec, 2018 11:55 am

Sounds like this story will have a happy ending
https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/mis ... 50mb0.html
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Re: Two bushwalkers missing in Ettrema. Police asking for in

Postby wildwanderer » Sun 16 Dec, 2018 10:20 am

SMH has a detailed article and interview on what went wrong during their 4 day hike that turned into a 7 day epic.
https://www.smh.com.au/national/act/fou ... 50mi3.html

A great result that they were able to walk out relatively unscathed with rescuers in what was atrocious conditions. Seems the main problem was they ended up on the wrong side of a steep gully full of loose scree and it was very difficult/dangerous to climb back to the correct side in the severe weather.

Its these sorts of situations that the two way messengers like Inreach etc really come into their own. Sounds like the pair were reasonably ok but were understandably delayed due to the conditions. A search was launched because they had no way to communicate that they were ok but delayed. (its food for thought. I don’t own a inreach.. but maybe Santa will be generous this year or next

The pair told the Sunday Canberra Times that as they went to leave Ettrema Creek on what is known as Transportation Spur, they took the wrong exit and ended up on the southern side of Gallows Gully instead of the northern edge.

"That meant going up a scree which was about 60 degrees, about 500 metres, with very loose rock that was cascading back down behind you," Mr McCarthy said.


"You're climbing up rocky scree that's giving way as you move up, and then you've got the vines, which were entangling us," she said.
"When you’re moving up the slope, the vines lodge themselves between the back of your head and your pack, so you would get trapped for a couple of minutes"


Mr McCarthy said they spotted helicopters overhead on Wednesday afternoon but did not manage to make contact with the searchers until Thursday, when members of the Rural Fire Service reached Pardon Point.

"There was a gully between us, what they call Gallows Gully, and we were able to have audible contact with them [by shouting across the gully]," he said.

Mr McCarthy said they were not able to see the searchers because of mist and rain, and they were advised to take shelter and wait out the approaching storm overnight before the searchers returned the next morning.

"We had enough food to stretch to the next morning," he said.


Both bushwalkers said they would like to thank the emergency services workers who found them and walked them out of the national park, noting that there were several volunteers among them.

Ms Boterhoven De Haan said the pair had been planning to wait for better conditions before plotting a course out of the bush when the searchers found them.
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