After ten torturous days stranded in Tasmania’s unforgiving alpine region, an experienced Melbourne hiker is recovering in hospital after being plucked from the snow by a rescue chopper.
Michael Bowman, 57, is enjoying a warm meal, a comfortable bed and around the clock care at the Royal Hobart Hospital where he was flown after being rescued late yesterday.
Mr Bowman failed to return from his journey as scheduled on Saturday, with emergency crews dispatched to search for the Mount Waverly man a day later.
Little did they know, the hiker had already been in survival mode for a week.
Hampered by bad conditions, crews were restricted to land and water searches before a window in the weather allowed the rescue operation to take to the sky.
After establishing a basecamp at Mt Cuvier in the state’s lake St Clair region on Saturday July 6, the seasoned trekker headed for a vantage point to take some landscape photos.
It was sometime during this period that Mr Bowman became separated from his day pack – losing it in deep snow and heavy fog – which contained most of his equipment including his clothes, emergency position-indicating radio beacon station (EPIRB), his cooking equipment and most of his food.
His bright orange hiking tent was pitched in the middle of a chest-deep snowdrift, a decision rescuers commended for making him easier to spot.
Emergency crews have attributed Mr Bowman’s survival to his extensive experience and discovered his location after finding a three-page bucket list inside his car.
This team of police and paramedics spotted the figure waving from his tent around 4pm yesterday, a timely discover with the hiker telling crews another night in the wilderness could have spelt the end.
Andy Summers, the intensive care flight paramedic on the rescue chopper was the first to talk to Mr Bowman saying the first words out of the hiker’s mouth were: “I’m so glad to see you”.
Mr Bowman told rescuers he had resided himself to the fact he would stay in his tent so that search and rescue personal could easily find his body.
“He’d actually resided himself to the fact that’d he’d stay in his tent so that if he did perish on that night we’d have somewhere to find him.” Constable Andrew Oakden. said.
“A less experienced person could have very easily come to grief,” said Constable Andrew Oakden.
The first thing Bowman was treated to was a Snickers bar and bottle of water.. items the survivor will never take for granted again his rescuers say.
He’ll continue his recovery here in Hobart before being flown back to Melbourne