Land Search Operation – Mandu Mandu Gorge at Exmouth

A 23-year-old hiker who became lost in the Mandu Mandu Gorge near Exmouth yesterday, Monday 6 September 2020, has made contact with Police this morning, Monday 7 September 2020.

About 4:00pm yesterday the 23-year-old woman travelled with a friend to the Mandu Mandu Gorge in the Cape Range National Park and commenced hiking on a trail, while her friend waited at the trail entrance for her to return. The hiker failed to return and was reported missing to Police by her friend about 9:00pm last night.

Exmouth Police and Karratha Police managed the initial search planning overnight, with DFES State Emergency Service volunteers, Police Air Wing and an officer from the Emergency Operations Unit activated to deploy this morning.

The missing woman contacted her friend about 8:00am this morning and it was established she was not injured and had become lost on the trail. The trail is 3km long and after walking for 7km she realised she had deviated from the official trail.

Acting Sergeant Brendan BYRNE, Acting Officer in Charge of Exmouth Police, said the incident serves as a reminder of the importance of safety equipment such as PLBs and satellite phones.

“When hiking in remote parts of Western Australia phone reception can be an issue at times, and it is critical to have a ‘Plan B’ option readily available. Items such as a Personal Locator Beacon or a satellite phone would have enabled the lost woman to immediately alert authorities to her situation and in the case of a satellite phone could have been used to guide her back out.

“If you’re planning on hiking a trail for the first time, please familiarise yourself by studying trail maps prior to commencing the hike. I would strongly recommend hikers also carry detailed maps to prevent going off trail.

“Fortunately, on this occasion the hiker was not injured and was only exposed to one night out in the elements. In the warmer months the weather would have been a lot more of problem, especially if sufficient water supplies were not being carried.”

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