Dramatic Queensland rescue of toddler and adults after message spotted from the sky

·News Reporter
·2-min read

A call for help, written on a sandy river bank, has helped save the lives of a group reported missing in Far North Queensland.

The alarm was raised at around 1pm on Saturday when a car was found bogged and abandoned near Coleman River, south of Pormpuraaw on the western Cape York Peninsula.

A two-year-old girl, a 23-year-old woman, a 19-year-old man and a 23-year-old man were reported missing around 7pm, a day after they had set off for Kowanyama.

People on a riverbank
Three adults and a toddler left Pormpuraaw for Kowanyama on Friday May 20. Source: Queensland Police

A search and rescue operation was immediately launched with local police officers on foot, while the Queensland Government Air Helicopter searched from the skies.

It wasn’t until Sunday morning that a large message was spotted by an aerial crew.

It read SOS.

Two people stand on a riverbank next to an SOS message in the sand
An aerial rescue crew spotted the group's message in the sand on Sunday morning. Source: Queensland Police

The group was found safe and well around 10am.

It’s believed they had left their car in search of assistance.

But police said anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation should remain with their vehicle.

“People who wander off to seek help run the risk of perishing if they do not have the adequate supplies or knowledge on how to stay safe,” Acting Senior Sergeant Rob Morriss said.

A person stands on a riverbank with a helicopter hovering above
The group was found safe and well. Source: Queensland Police

He also reminded people travelling to take precautions, carry enough food and water in case of an emergency, and notify friends and family of their plans so if they don't arrive at their destination an alarm can be raised.

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