25 Jan 2021

Australian man missing for 18 days 'survived on mushrooms'

5:35 am on 25 January 2021

A man who was missing in Australia for 18 days has been found after surviving on mushrooms and dam water, police say.

Robert Weber, found after being missing in Queensland for 18 days

Robert Weber is cared for after his ordeal. Photo: Queensland police

Search efforts launched after Robert Weber, 58, went missing in the state of Queensland were called off last week.

But police said he had been found near a dam on Sunday by a "property owner", who has been identified in Australian media as a local politician.

Weber was "suffering exposure to the elements" but otherwise safe and well, police said.

Before Sunday, he had last been seen leaving a hotel in the town of Kilkivan with his dog on 6 January. He ran into trouble when his car got bogged on a farm road.

Police said Weber spent three days in the car before running out of water and setting off on foot. He then became lost but remained near a dam where he survived by "sleeping on the ground, drinking dam water and eating mushrooms".

An extensive air and ground search was suspended after failing to find him, but local property owners and police were told to keep an eye out.

Local MP Tony Perrett and his wife were reported to have found Weber on Sunday just 3km from where his car had been discovered, after searching their cattle farm.

"He was sitting under a tree near a dam waving at us," Perrett told ABC.

"We'd been past this dam on numerous occasions over the last week and when we saw him there it was just quite extraordinary," he added.

"He certainly saw the helicopter that was there last week so he knew there were people out there searching for him.

"Just this morning it was good fortune that he was there and we were able to locate him.

"He said he was trying to get to Caboolture and he got disorientated … he became lost and didn't know where he was."

Weber told his rescuers he had been eating wild mushrooms and drinking water from a nearby dam.

"There were mushrooms in the water courses, the creeks, and he was able to be able to pick them and eat them," Perrett said.

The Member for Gympie called an ambulance and the Kilkivan police to report Weber was OK.

Authorities were then able to pass on the good news to Weber's family.

"So we transported him a number of kilometres back to where the house on the property was and just waited for the ambulance and police to arrive," Perrett said.

Police said Weber was taken to hospital suffering from exposure to the elements, but he was otherwise safe and well.

Perrett said he had been determined to keep checking water points.

"We were just very, very lucky this morning that we did locate him," he said.

Weber's dog has not been found.


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