Toowoomba man rescued from state’s highest mountain
A STRANDED man has finally returned to sea level after spending a very cold and wet night at the top of Mount Bartle Frere.
SES Gordonvale local controller Steve Schwartz was part of the crew sent up at 6am this morning to rescue the Toowoomba man after he became stranded on the mountain, about 50km south of Cairns, about 11.20am yesterday.
"The man set up the mountain but then came into bad weather, and he made the very wise decision to stop at the hut (at the summit) rather than come back down," Mr Schwartz said.
He said the 31-year-old man was extremely happy to see police and SES volunteers about 11.20am today.
"He was on the other side of the creek at Broken Nose junction. He was very cold, very tired, very hungry and he'd been hit pretty badly by leeches," Mr Schwartz said.
He said the man was OK after having some first aid to his leech wounds and having a bite to eat and walked down the mountain with his rescuers.
But he said other hikers should take his tale as a warning about the dangers of being underprepared.
"I don't think you should go on any serious hike without a 24-hour pack with food, clothes and water," he said.
"I'm originally from New Zealand and Mount Bartle Frere is one of the toughest mountains I've ever climbed.
"It's not really a one-day hike, and even if you think you can do it in one day you should still be prepared for at least a night's stay just in case the weather closes in like it did yesterday."
The man stayed overnight on the mountain after a rescue helicopter was sent out to find him yesterday but couldn't land safely because of weather conditions.