Sydney (AFP) – A South Korean tourist was found safe and “in good spirits” six days after falling into a deep ravine while taking photos from a mountaintop in northeastern Australia, officials said.
Rescuers said the chances of survival for 25-year-old Joohee Han had been “near zero” after spending nearly a week without food in the remote area.
Han disappeaered on June 1 after telling friends she was going to climb Mount Tyson, a peak in bushland south of Cairns in northern Queensland state, police said.
She was not reported missing until Wednesday, when police, soldiers and emergency crews launched a search, finally locating her Thursday stuck in a deep ravine near a waterfall.
She was winched to safety by helicopter and taken to a local hospital suffering only minor injuries.
Han told rescuers she slipped while taking photos from a rocky outlook and was knocked unconscious for around five hours from the fall.
She tried crawling out through heavy undergrowth but could get no further than the waterfall, where she remained for six days.
“She’d managed to find in the ravine running water coming down the rockface. The entire time she was missing she’d had no food with her at all,” said Hannah Gaulke, the Queensland Ambulance service flight medic who treated Han in the helicopter.
“Despite that, she’s actually in really good condition … in good spirits,” Gaulke said.
“From all the data that is known, and from even the data the police have, this is a first for someone in these conditions, where temperatures overnight had dropped below 10 degrees (50 Fahrenheit),” she said.
“She had minimal gear for survival and for that length of time her chances of survival were near zero,” she said.