Rescued Hiker Questioned After Surviving On Just Sultanas
Authorities have questioned missing hiker Brian Saunders after he was rescued from Lamington National Park on Thursday, after reporting he was lost on Saturday.
Suspicions were raised after the Logan man was found in seemingly 'good health' after his ordeal, telling authorities he survived four days in the thick bushland eating eight sultanas a day.
The suggestion that he immediately tried to 'sell his story' to the media also raised a red flag.
The 58-year-old emerged from the Gold Coast hinterland with just minor cuts and grazes after being missing for five days.
He began his bush walk with three sandwiches, two litres of water and a packet of sultanas - but had allegedly already consumed most of his resources before reporting himself missing on Saturday night at 7pm.
Despite a large scale land and air search, involving approximately 100 authority and volunteer rescuers, Mr Saunders emerged onto Christmas Creek Road on his own, 15km away from where the authorities told him to wait during his plea for help on Saturday.
Mr Saunders spoke to Seven News and said that he appreciated all of those involved in the rescue mission but he 'wanted to get out'.
"I thank each and every one of them for their efforts but today, fortunately, I walked out of Lamington National Park all by myself on my own steam and I never saw any of the searchers," Saunders told Seven News.
"I think they were on a different side … that’s where they thought I was, but I perhaps I moved too many times.
"I wanted to get out, so I followed the creek and that’s basically it."
The hiker first made contact with local farmer Mark Michael, whose farmhouse was located nearby where Mr Saunders emerged.
"He looked too good to be someone coming out of the forest after five nights," Michael said.
The man survived near freezing conditions across the five days.