My recent post Personal Locator Beacon explained how taking only a mobile phone when you walk in our Tassie wilderness isn’t smart: the batteries will go flat over time and any GPS location function may not operate.
A couple of days ago a man phoned the Police to say he was lost in some of Tasmania’s most inhospitable territory. He carried only a mobile phone and had left his camping gear at a spot while he took off on a solo day walk. Thankfully, after two near freezing nights, the man who was described as an “experienced day walker”, found his way to Tasmania Police and their searchers.
If anyone is planning a walk in remote areas in any part of the world, please protect yourself and make it easy for emergency services in the event of an injury, illness or getting lost. Remember in some parts of Tasmania you can be 10 metres away from another person and not be able to see or hear them because of the density and size of the bush.
Tasmania Police made a plea for everyone to carry an EPIRB location device; a Personal Locator Beacon. “With a mobile phone you can only communicate with us, until the battery fails. AN EPIRB tells us where you are.”
Where ever we walk some sort of crime is likely to have been committed in past years, centuries, or millennia – that is, if the concept of crime is part of the culture.
In the past week, Tasmanian police have been hopeful for a breakthrough in the search for Lucille Butterworth, a young woman who has been missing for almost half a century, believed murdered. Reports indicate that police ‘have the best lead yet with credible new information leading them to the lonely gravelled roadside area 8.5km from the Granton turn-off on the Lyell Highway’. The location is next to the Derwent River.
Having seen the latest news media photos, I remember walking this section of the road on my jaunt from Granton to New Norfolk. It was the section where no road verge offered protection from the traffic and I needed to walk on the tarmac. No sign of human habitation. Only vehicles with their racing drivers charging along the highway. I had no clairvoyant moments that day – I never felt the presence of anyone interred in the land nearby. But I hope the scientific and systematic exploration of the area between the road and the Derwent River will bring answers to the many questions which the family have lived with for decades.
Lucille disappeared at a time in history preceding the invasion of mobile phones. By all accounts she waited for a public bus in Hobart’s northern suburbs but the bus never arrived so she accepted a ride with someone in a passing car. These days, a person in a similar situation would simply phone a friend or a relative for help.
Should a blog reader have more information about Lucille Butterworth’s disappearance please contact Tasmania Police.