Backpacker feared death during bush ordeal

Warren Barnsley

A Korean backpacker who survived almost a week in dense north Queensland bushland believed a single misstep or the cold would kill her.

But the thought of family, food and returning to her normal life in Australia kept Joohee Han going.

Ms Han fell from Mount Tyson, near Cairns, before becoming stuck on top of a waterfall from where she was winched to safety last week suffering from little more than dehydration.

The banana farm worker hiked to the top of the mountain on June 1 before slipping and falling unconscious for a number of hours.

She said she had no memory of the fall despite breaking a tooth and picking up bruises and grazes.

But she knew she would not be able to reach safety on her own because the steepness and rockiness of her location made it inaccessible.

"Even putting a foot wrong would've been instant death," the 25-year-old told the ABC.

After making the decision to stay, overnight temperatures under 10 degrees posed a new threat.

"I thought if I died, it wouldn't be from dehydration or hunger or being scared, it would be from the cold," Ms Han said.

She was found by searchers who cut through dense bushland to reach her on Thursday.

"While I was up there, I was thinking I'm finally living in a place that makes me so happy, so I was so sad to be in my predicament," Ms Han said.

"I thought of my parents so much."