A 26-year-old university student who collapsed from hypothermia near the end of a hike in the Stirling Range National Park last week has told of the frightful experience.
Liam Lucas and three friends – Dave Glasson, Daniel Etherington and Michael Rankin – from Mandurah were in heavy rain on the last leg of the three-day, 28km Stirling Ridge Walk on Monday evening, May 14, when he collapsed, exhausted on Bluff Knoll, just 1.2km from the car park.
“I just ran out of energy,” Mr Lucas said.
“The next thing I knew my mates had got my damp clothes off me and wrapped me in dry clothes and a sleeping bag because I was hypothermic.
“Apparently I had just fainted on my face mid-walk, just bang.”
The group activated an EPIRB alerting emergency authorities they were in trouble and managed to carry Mr Lucas to the car park where police were waiting.
Mr Lucas said he was “hugely grateful” for his mates’ efforts.
“I’m amazed at the quick response for helping me as soon as I fell,” he said.
A doctor later told Mr Lucas his collapse was caused by a combination of low blood sugar and hypothermia.
Gnowangerup police Sergeant Mike Russell said the incident demonstrated how important it was to be well-prepared for adventuring.
“Making sure people carry all the correct gear for the journey, a medical kit and the like, is very important,” he said.
“In this case the lads had an EPIRB and they did the right thing by setting it off.
“The value of an EPIRB is critical, it can mean the difference between life and death and they should be carried in these sorts of situations.”
Emergency services responded to the distress signal but were later stood down when the group emerged unassisted.
Sgt Russell said emergency service authorities were prepared to start a ground and aerial search of the area at first light on Tuesday if the men were not found.