Woman lost in Mandu Mandu Gorge near Exmouth is safe

Caitlyn WattsPilbara News
Looking back to the reef from Mandu Mandu Gorge.
Camera IconLooking back to the reef from Mandu Mandu Gorge. Credit: Rebecca Nadge

A 23-year-old woman has this morning made contact with police and revealed she is not injured after she became lost and spent the night in the Mandu Mandu Gorge in the Cape Range National Park near Exmouth yesterday.

The woman was reported missing to police at about 9.00pm last night when she failed to return to her friend who was waiting for her at the entrance of a hiking trail.

Exmouth and Karratha Police last night managed the initial search, while DFES State Emergency Service volunteers, Police Air Wing and an officer from the Emergency Operations Unit were assisting this morning.

The woman then contacted her friend at about 8.00am this morning and said she was not injured and had become lost while walking on the 3km trail.

The woman said after walking for about 7km she realised she had deviated from the official trail.

Exmouth Police acting officer in charge Brendan Byrne said the incident was an important safety reminder, with hikers encouraged to have safety equipment such as PLBs and satellite phones.

“When hiking in remote parts of Western Australia phone reception can be an issue at times, and it is critical to have a ‘Plan B’ option readily available,” he said.

“Items such as a Personal Locator Beacon or a satellite phone would have enabled the lost woman to immediately alert authorities to her situation and in the case of a satellite phone could have been used to guide her back out.

“If you’re planning on hiking a trail for the first time, please familiarise yourself by studying trail maps prior to commencing the hike. I would strongly recommend hikers also carry detailed maps to prevent going off trail.”

Acting Sergeant Byrne said the woman was lucky to escape injury.

“Fortunately, on this occasion the hiker was not injured and was only exposed to one night out in the elements,” he said.

“In the warmer months the weather would have been a lot more of problem, especially if sufficient water supplies were not being carried.”

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