The West

One dead, one injured in Simpson desert
Mauritz 'Mo' Pieterse. Picture: Facebook

A young man who perished in the Simpson desert after his four-wheel drive got bogged was experienced in bush environments, his employer says.

Mauritz 'Mo' Pieterse, 25, died when he and a workmate became stranded while inspecting bores on the Ethabuka nature reserve, in Queensland's southwest on Monday.

Police say the men tried to walk about 10km back to a house on the reserve in 45-degree heat, but Mr Pieterse couldn't make the distance.

His 30-year-old workmate barely made it back to raise the alarm and Mr Pieterse was dead on a dirt track by the time help arrived.

Mr Pieterse sister, Jani, said: “We love him dearly and he’s going to be very missed and our family will never be the same."

Ms Pieterse and her parents are in WA by reportedly leaving for Queensland.

The survivor, who has not been named, is in a stable condition in the Mount Isa hospital, recovering from severe dehydration and heat exhaustion.

Bush Heritage Australia has told AAP the men had access to a form of communication.

But the group's national operations manager David Whitelaw said he could not comment further because that was an aspect of the ongoing police investigation.

Mr Whitelaw said Mr Pieterse, an Australian national who was born in South Africa, had been working as a field officer on the reserve for a year.

He said the man who survived was contracted to the conservation group, and all staff on the reserve were trained to work out in the field.

“Mo had all the requisite skills and experience even for a young man. His family upbringing provided for some of that outback experience,” Mr Whitelaw said.

“And he also had previously employment through parks and wildlife in Queensland.”

Police Inspector Paul Biggin said it was a tragic case that shows how vital it was for people to be prepared when travelling in difficult conditions, and how essential an adequate water supply was.

“It would appear in the circumstances there have been a number of mistakes made and as I said unfortunately one young man has lost his life,” he told the ABC.

Police had been in contact with workplace health and safety officials, and a report was being prepared for the coroner. Ethabuka nature reserve is a private land conservation site near the Queensland-Northern Territory border.

Mauritz Pieterse was on what was supposed to be a morning routine check of a spring. Picture: Facebook

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