19 year-old backpacker Jamie Neale, who has been missing in the mountains of eastern Australia for the past 12 days, has been found alive and is said to be in good condition, although he is recovering from exhaustion and dehydration in a local hospital. He was discovered on a trail near Katoomba, the same town that he set out from nearly two weeks ago.
The young Brit was on holiday in Australia when he decided to go backpacking in the Blue Mountains, found approximately 60 miles to the west of Sydney. He was last seen on July 3rd, but set off without his cell phone and didn’t bother to tell anyone where he was going. He also failed to sign the log book at the trail head as well, which complicated search and rescue operations later. To add to his level of unpreparedness, he was clad in dark colored clothes that made him difficult to spot from the air, and his survival blanket was left behind when he left Perth.
The Blue Mountains are a popular destination for hikers and backpackers alike. With more than 150 miles of trail available, and thousands of more miles of untouched wilderness stretching in all directions, outdoor enthusiasts flock to the region which is listed as a World Heritage Site for its natural beauty. The landscape is marked with sandstone plateaus, deep gorges, and eucalpyt forests that are not found anywhere else on the planet.
For Neale though, the beauty of the place that he was lost in turned into an ongoing nightmare. He tells reporters that he ate seeds and various plants to stay alive, and spent his nights huddled up in his jacket trying to stay warm in the cold evening air. He even reportedly spent one night sleeping under a log.
The backpacker’s family had all but given up on finding him, and his father, who had flown in from the U.K. to help search for his son, was preparing to fly home on the vary day that he was found. Now, they’ll wait for him to fully recover before returning home, where he’s likely to not be allowed to wander out of the yard with out his cell phone ever again.