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Lost in Namadgi. Found by helicopter

By johnboy - 8 June 2013 31

A 42-year-old woman and 22-year-old man have been rescued after getting lost while hiking in Namadgi National Park yesterday (Friday 7 June) afternoon.

About 1pm the pair left their vehicle after driving through Piccadilly Circus onto a dirt road, and walked into the forest. They had been hiking for approximately three hours before realising they were lost, and contacting ACT Policing.

A search for the hikers commenced, involving members from Woden patrol, Rural patrol, the Specialist Response Group and NSW Police. The hikers were able to give police a vague description of their whereabouts via mobile phone. However attempts to triangulate an exact position were unsuccessful.

As night fell, temperatures reached -3 degrees Celsius. A rescue helicopter with infra-red technology was brought in from Sydney to assist with the search. About 2am the hikers were located, and airlifted to The Canberra Hospital as a precautionary measure.

Acting Superintendent Steven Hogarth believes the hikers were extremely lucky to escape serious injury.

“At this time of year temperatures can plummet extremely quickly. Unprepared hikers run an enormous risk of serious injury or death when exposed to these elements”, Acting Superintendent Hogarth said.

“These two people are very fortunate to have been found so quickly in such a large area. Our members, with the assistance of NSW Police and the rescue helicopter did an outstanding job to rescue them safely”, he said.

When preparing for a bushwalk, always tell friends or family of your plans. Keep enough food and water with you, as well as clothing suitable for all conditions. Keep a fully charged mobile phone with you in case you get lost.

[Courtesy ACT Policing]

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31 Responses to
Lost in Namadgi. Found by helicopter
Spiral 3:54 pm 10 Jun 13

I wonder if having a helicopter carry the equipment to enable it to be a mobile mobile phone tower would help in these situations.

damien haas 2:02 pm 10 Jun 13

c_c™ said :

Smartphones should not be relied on as a navigation device outside metro areas. They typically do not store mapping data locally, or only cache a limited amount. That means they’re only good while you have a data connection, and from experience, my 3G smartphone lost 3G up in the Brindies, and could only establish sporadic EDGE connections.

Agreed. 2G or GSM has a maximum range of 35km, 3G has a theoretically longer range (i’ve heard up to 80km line of sight, using an antenna) but in the real world (a national park with hills and valleys) is no greater than 40km. 50km could be possible, but would depend upon the configuration of the cell. 4G will take over the old 2G 1800 band and will have a much shorter range than 3G. CDMA was valued in the bush due to its greater range than 2G. I wouldn’t take a 4g smartphone into the Brindies. The higher the freq, the greater amount of data can be transmitted, but there is a higher attenuation of the signal over distance, meaning its useful range is much shorter. Most smartphones have clever internal antennas but are designed for city use. Many 3g phones actually use 2g for most of their functions, defaulting to 3G when you require it.

There are UHF repeaters in the mountains around Canberra. A 5w handheld UHF handset is small enough to carry and you could be heard by people looking for you (even if you couldn’t hear them).

Up to date maps, a beacon, a lighter and warm clothing would be my choice of things to take bushwalking ahead of an iphone.

caf 12:01 pm 10 Jun 13

c_c™ said :

Smartphones should not be relied on as a navigation device outside metro areas. They typically do not store mapping data locally, or only cache a limited amount. That means they’re only good while you have a data connection, and from experience, my 3G smartphone lost 3G up in the Brindies, and could only establish sporadic EDGE connections.

This is true, but you don’t need mapping data to get a plain latitude/longitude. It’s worth installing an application like “GPS Essentials” (Android) or whatever the iOS equivalent is that will show you that data. (You still shouldn’t rely on your phone, though!).

KB1971 7:35 am 10 Jun 13

Matches people! If you carry nothing else carry some matches.

They were locatable by using the phone, the police were up there a smoky fire would have done the trick before sun down.

Even if it didn’t, they would have been warm overnight!

c_c™ 2:15 am 10 Jun 13

Smartphones should not be relied on as a navigation device outside metro areas. They typically do not store mapping data locally, or only cache a limited amount. That means they’re only good while you have a data connection, and from experience, my 3G smartphone lost 3G up in the Brindies, and could only establish sporadic EDGE connections.

parle 10:55 pm 09 Jun 13

The hikers were able to give police a vague description of their whereabouts via mobile phone. However attempts to triangulate an exact position were unsuccessful.

any smartphone would’ve been enough, if not to navigate out then at least relay exact coordinates.

Instant Mash 9:30 pm 09 Jun 13

snoopydoc said :

Or people could simply have a clue before they wander aimlessly into the bush. Owning and knowing how to use a map and compass isn’t asking all that much, folks.

Sure, if someone in your party is injured, etc., that’s what rescue services are for, but the expense to society and risk to the rescue crews are difficult to justify when the “emergency” is an entirely preventable once resulting from poor planning and ignorance.

This.

It’s generally a bad idea to go for a wander into the bush unprepared.

snoopydoc 7:03 pm 09 Jun 13

Or people could simply have a clue before they wander aimlessly into the bush. Owning and knowing how to use a map and compass isn’t asking all that much, folks.

Sure, if someone in your party is injured, etc., that’s what rescue services are for, but the expense to society and risk to the rescue crews are difficult to justify when the “emergency” is an entirely preventable once resulting from poor planning and ignorance.

patrick_keogh 8:07 am 09 Jun 13

melon1234 said :

c_c™ said :

People should keep PLBs in mind too, though for some reason the Police and media advice still omits mention of them too often.

A good point, particularly considering that you can hire PLBs from the Namadagi Visitor Centre for a fairly small cost – equating to about $5/day.

Not much that the ACT government could do about it, but it is a fair round trip to the Visitor’s Centre for someone going out to Piccadilli Circus from central Canberra of Belco. Mobile phone coverage if you are “lost” isn’t such a problem in the ACT and surrounds. If you walk uphill there is a very good chance that you will get at least enough signal for an SMS. Even just sending lat and long to someone from your iPhone or whatever should be enough. It is much more of an issue if you are sick or injured however as you may not have the mobility to get phone coverage. Under these circumstances there is no substitute for the PLB. Good quality ones are now not much over $320 and the smallest, lightest ones which are less than 200g are less than $400.

wildturkeycanoe 8:03 am 09 Jun 13

I’d hate to get lost in Belconnen mall food court or level 2 West, the Kingston foreshores or anywhere around Braddon/Dickson just to name a few Telstra black spots. I’d have better chance of making a connection up there in the mountains than the middle of the capital city of Australia.

Postalgeek 11:37 pm 08 Jun 13

melon1234 said :

c_c™ said :

People should keep PLBs in mind too, though for some reason the Police and media advice still omits mention of them too often.

A good point, particularly considering that you can hire PLBs from the Namadagi Visitor Centre for a fairly small cost – equating to about $5/day.

Do yourself a favour and make sure your PLB is a newer 406Mhz model with GPS which will give your position to <120 meters from the moment you activate it. Non-GPS have an accuracy locator of <5kms. It takes on average 90 minutes for the satellites to receive the signal and calculate the position with non-GPS models, but it can take up to 5 hours depending on conditions. GPS is a no-brainer and during a medical emergency it may make all the difference.

Less than $400 for peace of mind and cheap at the price.

BimboGeek 7:06 pm 08 Jun 13

c_c™ said :

Very lucky they were able to get mobile phone reception up there. Some spotty 2G reception on Telstra is about the best I’ve ever managed.

People should keep PLBs in mind too, though for some reason the Police and media advice still omits mention of them too often.

Vodafone. Complete blackness on the South Coast and in the beautiful villages of the Victorian Alps but always top reception on isolated mountain faces.

melon1234 6:53 pm 08 Jun 13

c_c™ said :

People should keep PLBs in mind too, though for some reason the Police and media advice still omits mention of them too often.

A good point, particularly considering that you can hire PLBs from the Namadagi Visitor Centre for a fairly small cost – equating to about $5/day.

c_c™ 6:20 pm 08 Jun 13

Very lucky they were able to get mobile phone reception up there. Some spotty 2G reception on Telstra is about the best I’ve ever managed.

People should keep PLBs in mind too, though for some reason the Police and media advice still omits mention of them too often.

enrique 6:05 pm 08 Jun 13

Lucky people.

Glad to hear it all turned out ok.

I wonder if it’s got anything to do with the recent post… http://the-riotact.com/snow-in-the-territory/106586

😉

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