Colleagues of a Queensland hiker who fell down a waterfall and crawled for two days to safety with a shattered leg say he survived because he is a “competent and capable bushwalker”.
Neil Parker, 54, fractured his leg and wrist in the six-metre fall on Sunday while walking by himself in Cabbage Tree Creek on Mt Nebo, north-west of Brisbane.
Parker, who is an experienced guide with Brisbane Bushwalkers, used hiking sticks to splint his leg and then spent two days crawling back to a clearing.
He told reporters from a hospital bed on Wednesday morning that he survived by eating a protein bar and lollies which he had taken as snacks when he set out for the walk, thinking he’d “be home by lunchtime”. He also availed of painkillers in his pack, which included Panadol and Nurofen.
The Brisbane Bushwalkers community launched a search party on Monday, with a rescue helicopter finally spotting him on Tuesday afternoon.
Parker was winched to safety and transported to Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra hospital, where he spent the night.
The Brisbane Bushwalkers president, Steve Simpson, said there are a number of family-friendly hikes on Mt Nebo, but that the area in which Parker was hiking requires bush sense and skills.
“The area Neil was in is quite rugged and you need experience,” he told ABC radio on Wednesday.
“Neil knows that area intimately.
“He’s a very competent and capable bushwalker.”
He said Parker had good survival skills, which he had learned through his time in the bushwalking community.
When they learned he was missing, the club hand-picked their best hikers to join emergency services crews in their rescue mission.
However he was found by the helicopter before they could get too deep into the bush.
“As soon as word got out that he was found and was alive there was a great feeling of celebration and relief,” Simpson said.