Cathy Adams

Woman hiker safe after ordeal in bush

A NORTHERN Rivers bushwalker has been reunited with her family after spending a harrowing night lost and alone in Nightcap National Park at Mt Nardi, near Nimbin.

A ground and air search was launched for the 50-year-old woman, who had become separated from her husband and teenage daughter while hiking on Saturday afternoon.

She was found safe and well at 10.10am yesterday, two kilometres from the spot where she had gone missing nearly 24 hours earlier.

Her family, who had stayed overnight at Nightcap National Park for the search, walked with her out of the bush at midday yesterday. She had visible scratches to her arms and face.

"Thank you so much everyone. You were absolutely amazing," the woman, who refused to identify herself, said with a beaming smile to rescuers at the scene.

"The greatest thanks to all these guys. It is absolutely phenomenal.

"It was such a drama. Thankfully everything turned out well.

The family, believed to be from the Murwillumbah area, left Mt Nardi on Friday for an overnight hike in the Nightcap National Park.

Lismore Police Inspector Dave Driver said yesterday that they were experienced hikers and had food, equipment and maps with them.

He said after camping overnight and trekking further through the national park, the family decided to turn back to ensure they arrived back at the Mt Nardi car park in daylight hours.

That is when the woman became separated from her other family members.

Her husband and daughter returned to the point where they had last seen her and marked the spot with rocks and sticks.

They searched the surrounding area for about two hours without success and together they trekked for another three hours to reach the Mt Nardi car park, where they raised the alarm.

Nimbin police arrived at the scene around 5.30pm, but the light was already failing.

Due to the rugged terrain the search was abandoned until yesterday morning.

Inspector Driver said the woman had been carrying a backpack containing food and water.

She also had thermal clothing, rain gear and proper hiking boots.

An extensive search was launched at daylight by Nimbin police, the Police Air helicopter, the police dog squad, the Lismore SES and ambulance officers.

The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter also conducted an aerial search.

Inspector Driver said that the terrain in the search area was very dense.

He said while the search area had a walking track there was thick vegetation on either side of it.

When the woman was found she was about an hour's walk from the Mt Nardi car park.

"She was found on the track," Inspector Driver said.


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