Australian missing since Oct 20 found alive and well


MIRI: Australian tourist Andrew Gaskell, who went missing on Oct 20 in the Mulu National Park in interior northern Sarawak, has been rescued from a section of forest known as the “hidden valley”.

The search and rescue teams searched until the Mulu summit in an effort to find Gaskell, 28, who went missing after he embarked on a solo adventure into the Mulu National Park.

Yesterday, he was transported from Mulu by helicopter and arrived at the Miri Hospital Emergency Unit at about 3pm.

“Yes, he has been rescued,” said Miri Fire and Rescue Department chief Supt Law Poh Kiong.

The search teams had to winch him up into a helicopter after he was found in a frail state.

Apart from minor injuries, he is reported to be fine.

The rescue teams could not fly out from Mulu due to bad weather and logistic barriers as there are no roads from Miri to Mulu.

The Mulu National Park has a vast network of caves, underground rivers and steep mountains as well as sharp limestone walls.

More than 60 search and rescue personnel from the Fire and Rescue Department, the police, the civil defence and Sarawak Forestry rangers were involved in combing three different locations at the Mulu Summit, Bukit Susu and Racers Cave.

These are deep locations inside the national park requiring a three-day hike to reach from the national park head office.

News of Gaskell’s rescue brought relief to his family and friends Down Under.

Gaskell’s mother, Elizabeth, told Australia’s national broadcaster ABC that his family was “very thankful and grateful” for all those involved in the search and rescue operation.

“We just thank God he’s been found alive,” she said.

Jess Tolputt, who is a family friend of the Gaskells, took to social media to thank well-wishers.

“Today is a good day!!! Praise God for answered prayers!!! Miracles really do happen!!!

“Thank you to everyone who sent best wishes and prayed for Andrew and his family.

“I’m sure Dave and Ben can’t wait to bring him home to Liz, Geoffrey, Caroline and the rest of their family!” she said in her Facebook post. - TheStar

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