Stranded by floods and lost, a German backpacker survived for about two weeks in Australia’s inhospitable Outback on a diet of insects, police said on Friday.
Daniel Dudzisz, 26, went missing in February southwest of Longreach in remote Queensland as he reportedly tried to walk solo more than halfway across Australia.
Police said a motorist picked up the bedraggled tourist on Thursday near Cooper Creek outside the town of Windorah.
Dudzisz – who is diabetic and insulin-dependent – told police he waded through floodwaters and ate flies to survive his ordeal in the vast and wild Outback. “If you hadn’t heard it with your own ears – and my officers have – you certainly wouldn’t believe it,” Inspector Mark Henderson told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “He joked about never going hungry in the Australian Outback because of the amount of flies you can eat for their protein apparently.”
Dudzisz told police he was determined to continue his journey to Australia’s Northern Territory and was last seen heading beyond the remote town of Mt Isa to cross the state border.
The German has been walking through New South Wales and Queensland states for several months and Henderson said local farmers had kept police informed of his whereabouts, often calling after meeting him on their properties. “It’s a very remote and isolated area with lots of hazards,” Henderson told reporters, with one of them the deadly inland taipan snake which was currently “out in force” due to flooding. “It’s not great territory” for walking at night, as Dudzisz does, added Henderson, saying there were also fierce wild boars in the area. Henderson said police became worried when Dudzisz set off from Windorah on February 17 heading to Jundah, about 90 kilometres away, in the path of floodwaters, and was not seen again. After a local motorbike search they launched an aerial sweep on February 24, but more localised flooding saw operations suspended.
‘We thought he had perished’: The inspector said the German walker later recounted he had lost his way and became stranded between two flooded areas of the Barcoo River, spending about 10 days on an “island”, which formed in the massive stretch of water.
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