Missing British backpacker Jamie Neale found after 12 days in Australian bush

(an interesting article I came across and thought to share.)

In a remarkable tale of survival against all the odds, a teenage British backpacker has walked out of dense bushland in Australia after surviving for 12 days in freezing weather.

Jamie Neale, from Muswell Hill in north London, had no tent, no rations and no survival equipment, but survived on seeds and grass and slept under logs as he wandered lost through the Blue Mountains in New South Wales after going for a hike.

By the time he appeared this morning, rescue workers had nearly given up on the 19-year-old and his father Richard Cass had told his wife: "Give up, he's dead."

Mr Cass was at Sydney airport about to get on a plane back to London when police called to tell him his son was alive.

"He's come back from the dead," Mr Cass said. "I'd held my own closure ceremony in the park. I carved his name, lit a little candle. But I always said he was tough."

Speaking outside the hospital in the tourist town of Katoomba, where his son was being treated for exposure and dehydration, Mr Cass said that his son had seen rescue helicopters but been unable to attract their attention.

"He would go up on a cliff and see where to go but as soon as he went back down he didn't know where he was.

"He was talking to me about whether there was a god. He was losing faith, every time he saw a helicopter and he waved and shouted and nothing happened. He thought he was going to die."

Mr Neale had not been seen since July 3, when he left a youth hostel in Katoomba planning to walk to the Ruined Castle rock formation, regarded as an easy day's walk. He had a bottle of water and two bread rolls, but had left his mobile phone in the hostel - "the only teenager in the world", said Mr Cass, to go on a hike without his mobile phone.

He had brought a silver emergency heat blanket to Australia but accidentally left it behind at his uncle's house in Perth before he flew to Sydney.

He was last spotted on top of Ruined Castle, where he told a married couple he intended to keep walking to Mount Solitary, an isolated plateau in the Jamison Valley, a beautiful but rugged area near Katoomba. As he descended into the bush, he wandered off the trail and became disoriented, he told his rescuers.

"There's only one track in and one track out," said Sgt Ian Colless. "Once you lose the track it can be very dangerous. You can't just blaze your own trail in this area."

(this is an article taken from times online:July 15, 2009 under the headine)