IN A tale to rival the adventures of Bear Grylls, a Byron Bay man survived five days in remote bush west of Casino, eating only sugar, an egg he found in the bush and creek water.
Nicholas Thurgood, 41, was first reported missing to authorities by a friend last Tuesday, July 24, after he complained of a back problem and his male companion went to get help.
When he returned, the man could not find Mr Thurgood and police commenced a search.
Over the next four days, police, SES, police rescue, the Casino Volunteer Rescue Association and the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter searched for Mr Thurgood without success.
That was until a Lismore man was trailbike riding with a mate and his son on private property near the North Belmore State Forest, west of Rappville, on Saturday when they spotted him at about 11.30am.
"We just came out into a clearing and saw him over on the side of a hill waving a sheet in the air
"Initially we thought somebody might have got hurt or his bike had broken down or something, till we got there and he explained to us that he had been lost out there for a week."
At first the man said they doubted Mr Thurgood's story was true, until another group of trailbike riders came along and confirmed police had been searching for him almost all week.
"You don't really know what to believe when you come across someone in the bush."
Dressed in jeans and a long jacket, Mr Thurgood told the men he found some sheets and blankets during his adventure to keep warm.
"He said he had been wandering around and he came across this little cabin and he found some sugar there," he said.
"The only thing he'd eaten all week was an egg he found in the grass.
"He was getting water from a little creek nearby that we rode through, in an old bottle he found."
With temperatures dropping into single figures, and no supplies, Mr Thurgood was lucky to survive.
"He said he'd been camped for the last couple of nights or so in an old abandoned caravan he found out in the middle of the bush."
The man agreed to double Mr Thurgood back to the main road to get help, and during the half hour ride they came across a couple who owned a house nearby.
"They said he's been in the paper and on the radio and there has been helicopters out looking for him," he said.
"These people said bring him out to our house, so we took him to their house and they gave him a good feed and got in touch with the police."
If Mr Thurgood had walked along the track where he was found for a couple of hours, the man said he would have came across the house.