There are some places in the world that, regardless of the surreptitious dangers associated with them, still seem to draw people to them. Australia is one of these such places. It’s a picturesque landscape full of beautiful and dangerous creatures found nowhere else in the world.
Every year, thousands of people travel to the Land Down Under to hike through their unique wild places and see this one-of-a-kind locale. Joohee was one of those people but she was wholly unprepared for what awaited her…
He call had gone out, a woman was missing in the Australian wilderness. This wasn’t an experienced backpacker or bushman either, this woman was little more than a tourist. A tourist in the outback with a guide is bad enough, but alone…they’re doomed.
25-year-old Joohee had been visiting a supermarket in the Queensland town of Tully when she received a phone call from a friend. She was talking of her plans, and how she had planned to take a walk in the picturesque mountainous area near Mount Tyson natural park the next day. It was the last time Joohee’s friend heard from her…
Mount Tyson is located near Tully, Queensland. It is believed that the town’s name and the railway stations name before that, and indeed the mountain itself, were all named after a local grazier and Member of the Queensland Legislative Council, James Tyson. Today, it has some popular, if a little dangerous hiking trails.
The very next day, Joohee walked into the national park. She was in the shadow of Mount Tyson, which wasn’t very tall as mountains go, but was certainly mountain enough for the Korean tourist. She hiked her way up to the tip of the mountain and took out her camera to snap a few one-of-a-kind pics…
Joohee was staring out over the vistas, enjoying her time in nature, when suddenly she slipped. Whether she wasn’t watching where she was going we can’t be sure, but what we do know is that she slipped and fell into a deep ravine. She bumped her head on the way down and soon fell unconscious.
The would-be hiker remained unconscious for hours after tumbling into the ravine. When she finally came to, dizziness overcame her. She had no idea where she was, or where she had come from. Unable to get her bearings, she started hiking in one direction. She knew if she had a concussion, she’d need to remain awake as long as she could…
Luckily for Joohee, she was at least dressed fairly warmly. She had been wearing a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, a raincoat, and hiking shoes. It would keep her warm enough at night, and wouldn’t be too stifling in the heat of the day. But the situation still wasn’t ideal: not by a long shot.
Joohee Han wandered around the wilderness for some time, trying to stay awake, until she realized that the best thing she could do for her situation was to find higher ground. She reached a rocky waterfall and climbed up as best she could. The problem was, once she’d gotten up the cliffside, she was now stuck…
Our heroine couldn’t go any further and now, stuck as she was above the waterfall, she couldn’t go back either. Still, she had a source of fresh drinking water. She knew that she could survive for at least a few days without water. The problem was, she also didn’t have any food either, nor would she for some time.
Missing for Days
Meanwhile, Joohee’s friends were beginning to get worried. Even away, it wasn’t liker her not to be in contact. She also hadn’t posted any of the pictures of Mount Tyson they had believed her to be taking. Five days later, her friends decided to contact the Australian authorities to report her missing…
Six More Days
Joohee was starving, exhausted, and alone. Hunger pangs had long since ceased to bother her, and all that remained was a persistent feeling of emptiness within. When she did sleep, she slept badly. Before she knew what was happening, six whole days had come and gone. She worried that no one would ever find her.
The Queensland government had sent out a search party, but as she had already been gone for five days, many of the members of that team were confident they were looking for a corpse. Still, as they made their way through the inhospitable wilderness, they found some signs that Joohee was alive, somewhere…
Joohee woke one morning to hear someone on the ground beneath her outcropping. They had found her, a team of rescuers. She shouted down to them, but try as they might, even the most outdoorsy among them couldn’t get to her where she was. They would have to find another way to rescue her.
A helicopter crew was called in to come and help. Before they could get her out of there, they knew that she needed to eat. They passed her down some food first so that she could build up at least some strength. Finally, they set up the winch and sent a rescuer down 60 ft to the place where she was staying…
As difficult as the terrain was, it was no match for a trained helicopter rescue crew. The 60-foot length of rope was lowered and they helped Joohee into the harness before sending her back up to the safety of the helicopter. They asked her what had happened to her and Joohee Han told them her harrowing tale as they headed towards a hospital.
Crawl and Scrape
The Korean woman was suffering from dehydration and exposure when they found her but was otherwise unscathed by her ordeal. Queensland Ambulance flight paramedic Hannah Gaulke weighed in on Joohee’s condition after they found her. “She was actually in really good condition, so she had no significant injuries… she was in good spirits…”
“She managed to crawl and scrape her way through the bushland, which was really tough terrain,” Gaulke explained, adding that “Six days is a long time to be lost in the bush, particularly when you’ve got no bush skills…she’s done well to survive.”
She was winched from the forest to a hospital in the Queensland area, where she is likely to make a full recovery. Joohee Han wasn’t the only unfortunate soul to find themselves lost in the inhospitable Australian wilderness. Many others have found themselves lost and forced to survive on their own, and at least Joohee had shoes…
Shoeless and Alone
Ricky Megee had been mugged, relieved of his shoes, and left for dead in the Australian outback: all because he had stopped to help a group of “stranded drivers.” He wandered for days in the desert, barefoot and subsisting on lizards, scorpions, and anything else he could find, until he found an abandoned dam and fresh water.
Weeks Off the Land
Too weak and injured to move, he built a shelter nearby and continued to live off the land. Rick ate bugs, flowers, leeches, and even frogs to stay alive. He moved when he could and eventually followed the river to another dam. Eventually, he would be rescued, but his ordeal and the story of his adventures in the outback are a tale worth exploring in their entirety.