Hurt, alone, out of touch

A Lone injured and disorientated hiker was forced to walk for hours in the Alpine National Park at the weekend in search of mobile reception to call for help.

The 32-year-old man managed to phone Myrtleford police about 9am yesterday, telling them he’d fallen and sprained his ankle some time on Saturday.

A search party of police, paramedics and SES volunteers set out to rescue him, but Ambulance Victoria flew him out before the group arrived just past midday.

The man was found at Abbeyard, at the Harry Shepherds and Australian Walking Track crossing, between Mount Buller and Mount Hotham.

From there he was flown to Bairnsdale hospital for treatment.

It was not immediately known where the hiker was from.

Temperatures were around zero in the area yesterday.

Ambulance spokesman John Mullen said man had suffered slight hypothermia but was in an otherwise stable condition.

“He was disorientated, but otherwise OK,” he said.

“He needed to be extracted — it was rugged country.”

Wangaratta police Sgt Glen Smith said if the hiker’s injury had been worse, he might have been stranded and unable to get to a location to summon help.

“If he’d been unable to get to an area with phone reception, he could have been in a very serious position,” he said.

Sgt Smith said hikers were best not to travel alone in case something went wrong.

It was obviously not advisable to go into the bush by yourself, especially when relying on only mobile service, he said.

“If people are going to go hiking, they should go with a friend,” he said.

“Or if hiking alone, they should make sure they have a satellite phone or better communication.”

Sgt Smith said the man told police he had food for four days with him.

He said hikers should tell someone where they were planning to go and take plenty of food and water, warm clothing and wet-weather gear.