Family Survives for 10+ Days in Australian Bush

Beginning on December 11th, an Australian family of three found themselves stranded in the Australian Bush with little food and absolutely no means of reaching the outside world. For 10 days, the 37-year old father and his two boys were stranded in their car, which was bogged down in some mud in a very remote part of Expedition National Park, located just Northwest of Brisbane.

A Holiday Trip Gone Wrong

When Steven Van Lonkhuyzen decided to take his sons on the 1,000+ mile journey from Brisbane north to the coastal city of Cairns, he thought it would be good for them to experience some of the dense wilderness that dominates much of Australia’s inland. What he didn’t expect, however, was to end up trapped in the depths of Expedition National Park with little food and no means of escape.

Not too long into their journey, on December 11th, Lonkhuyzen and his two sons (aged 5 and 7) became bogged down in mud in their 4-wheel-drive Mitsubishi Pajero. Unsure of what to do, Lonkhuyzen remained at his son’s side, doing all that he could to try and attract rescuers. Unfortunately, widespread search efforts did not commence until shortly after December 15th, simply because no one knew they were lost until they did not arrive in Cairns on the 15th.

Because the father and his two sons were lost in a very remote part of the park, cell phone reception was not to be found. In addition to this, making their chances of being rescued worse was the fact that Expedition National Park does not receive many visitors this time of year—it is now generally regarded as the rainy season in that part of Australia.

As the days past and food became increasingly scarce, Lonkhuyzen was forced to ration what little food was available. Lonkhuyzen admitted that, after a few days had passed, his outlook on the situation became increasingly grim as there simply wasn’t a lot of food left, and they had had 0 contact with the outside world.

An Unlikely Rescuer

After a few searches turned up little to no information with regard to the three’s whereabouts, hope was beginning to diminish. Luckily, a farmer who lives none too far from where the family entered the Bush decided to partake in his own search efforts after learning of the vehicle’s disappearance. After all, he had seen Lonkhuyzen’s Mitsubishi enter the Bush a few days earlier, so he was more than likely one of the last people to have seen the family.

Luckily, after some searching, farmer Tom Wagner happened upon the stranded vehicle in a remote part of the Bush that none of the previous search efforts came anywhere near. In all reality, it seems as though, without the help of Wagner, the Lonkhuyzens very well might have perished in the Australian wilderness.

Police praised the father of the two boys for staying put. In situations where you become stranded in the wilderness, one of the biggest pieces of advice is to stay put and wait for help to find you. To the contrary, people who are stranded all too often become anxious, scared, and eager to get out of their predicament, so they go out searching for help. Being on the move constantly only makes it more difficult for search parties to locate you, so it is advised that if you ever find yourself in a situation similar to the one described above, try your best to remain visible and in one location. There is no guaranteeing that you will be found, but staying put increases your chances of being found significantly.