Missing Brighton College backpacker found alive

First published in News
Last updated
by , Senior Reporter

A former Brighton College student missing in the Australian Outback for more than three days has been found safe and well, Queensland Police said today.

Samuel Woodhead disappeared from a cattle station in the Australian state of Queensland on Tuesday when he went for a jog.

A police spokesman said Mr Woodhead was a little sunburned when he was found, but was hydrated and otherwise well. His family has been notified.

The 18-year-old is being returned to the homestead at the central Queensland cattle station where he was staying for a medical assessment, before being transferred to a hospital in the nearby town, Longreach.

There were unconfirmed reports that he was found during a helicopter search, police said.

His sister Rebecca, posted the news on Facebook today, saying: "We have been told that they have found sam!! We have no information on his condition or where he was found yet, so keep your fingers crossed."

Local authorities launched a search for Mr Woodhead, reportedly from Richmond Upon Thames, in Surrey, amid fears he may have become lost in the hot, isolated region.

Rescuers searched for him by land and air. His mother is understood to have urged police to widen their search as her son, an experienced long-distance runner, could have travelled some way from his base.

Temperatures have been around 37C (98.6 Fahrenheit) in the area this week.

Rebecca told ITV's Daybreak today that Samuel was on his way to hospital by helicopter with injuries no worse than "minor sunstroke, dehydration and chapped lips".

Samuel's father Peter Woodhead broke down on the programme as he described the ordeal the family had been through waiting for the news that he was safe.

"The word 'nightmare' these days is much misused," he said.

"This has been a true nightmare."

He went on to thank all the people who helped find Samuel - who numbered up to 200.

"We have just had so much support from friends and family," he said. "I would like to put on air the thanks we give to everyone who joined in their search effort. He owes his life to them."

Alex Dorr, a pilot with the North Queensland Rescue Helicopter, told the programme he had gone down to the area where Samuel disappeared, searching in the dark with night-vision cameras in a bid to find him quickly.

He described the area as "harsh and unforgiving", adding: "Not that long ago we had a guy who was missing for a much shorter time and he passed away from dehydration."

Comments (8)

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8:24am Fri 15 Feb 13

qm says...

Brilliant news . . . not enough "Good News" days - at least the Woodheads can relax a bit and we can all be grateful to the efforts of the searchers in finding one of ours!
Brilliant news . . . not enough "Good News" days - at least the Woodheads can relax a bit and we can all be grateful to the efforts of the searchers in finding one of ours! qm
  • Score: 0

10:06am Fri 15 Feb 13

Tailgaters Anonymous says...

Good news but clearly reality in Oz is far different from the tinsel of Neighbours or Home & Away!
Pity good old common-sense didn't kick in before 200+ had to search and the media bombarded with panic-stricken pleas!
Good news but clearly reality in Oz is far different from the tinsel of Neighbours or Home & Away! Pity good old common-sense didn't kick in before 200+ had to search and the media bombarded with panic-stricken pleas! Tailgaters Anonymous
  • Score: 0

12:27pm Fri 15 Feb 13

qm says...

Tailgaters Anonymous wrote:
Good news but clearly reality in Oz is far different from the tinsel of Neighbours or Home & Away!
Pity good old common-sense didn't kick in before 200+ had to search and the media bombarded with panic-stricken pleas!
Common sense is derived by reasoning and one can only reason by using one's knowledge and experience. Imagine plucking a young fella from the outback and planting him in the middle of a big city with all of its dangers. Excluding Croc Dundee, he would be severely challenged. Young Sam has learned some valuable lessons over the last few days and considering the environment, as they say, "the boy done good"! He will make a fine soldier.
[quote][p][bold]Tailgaters Anonymous[/bold] wrote: Good news but clearly reality in Oz is far different from the tinsel of Neighbours or Home & Away! Pity good old common-sense didn't kick in before 200+ had to search and the media bombarded with panic-stricken pleas![/p][/quote]Common sense is derived by reasoning and one can only reason by using one's knowledge and experience. Imagine plucking a young fella from the outback and planting him in the middle of a big city with all of its dangers. Excluding Croc Dundee, he would be severely challenged. Young Sam has learned some valuable lessons over the last few days and considering the environment, as they say, "the boy done good"! He will make a fine soldier. qm
  • Score: 0

2:03pm Fri 15 Feb 13

Burgess Hill Gull says...

Although this incident had a happy ending it could so easily have resulted in the loss of life. I am sure the family of this foolhardy individual are delighted that he has been found. Rather than give him hero status, he should be made to contribute towards the cost of the recovery effort.
Although this incident had a happy ending it could so easily have resulted in the loss of life. I am sure the family of this foolhardy individual are delighted that he has been found. Rather than give him hero status, he should be made to contribute towards the cost of the recovery effort. Burgess Hill Gull
  • Score: 0

2:36pm Fri 15 Feb 13

JoeBlow says...

Burgess Hill Gull wrote:
Although this incident had a happy ending it could so easily have resulted in the loss of life. I am sure the family of this foolhardy individual are delighted that he has been found. Rather than give him hero status, he should be made to contribute towards the cost of the recovery effort.
So speaks someone who has never made a mistake in his life.
[quote][p][bold]Burgess Hill Gull[/bold] wrote: Although this incident had a happy ending it could so easily have resulted in the loss of life. I am sure the family of this foolhardy individual are delighted that he has been found. Rather than give him hero status, he should be made to contribute towards the cost of the recovery effort.[/p][/quote]So speaks someone who has never made a mistake in his life. JoeBlow
  • Score: 0

6:40pm Fri 15 Feb 13

Burgess Hill Gull says...

JoeBlow wrote:
Burgess Hill Gull wrote:
Although this incident had a happy ending it could so easily have resulted in the loss of life. I am sure the family of this foolhardy individual are delighted that he has been found. Rather than give him hero status, he should be made to contribute towards the cost of the recovery effort.
So speaks someone who has never made a mistake in his life.
Life is a learning experience. However the Australian terrain can be very unforgiving. This act displayed the highest degree of recklessness and stupidity. I wonder if you have ever stepped outside your own parish.
[quote][p][bold]JoeBlow[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Burgess Hill Gull[/bold] wrote: Although this incident had a happy ending it could so easily have resulted in the loss of life. I am sure the family of this foolhardy individual are delighted that he has been found. Rather than give him hero status, he should be made to contribute towards the cost of the recovery effort.[/p][/quote]So speaks someone who has never made a mistake in his life.[/p][/quote]Life is a learning experience. However the Australian terrain can be very unforgiving. This act displayed the highest degree of recklessness and stupidity. I wonder if you have ever stepped outside your own parish. Burgess Hill Gull
  • Score: 0

6:43pm Fri 15 Feb 13

tradebooker says...

So glad he's been found. My brother Eddie Gibson went missing in Cambodia and never came home. Presumed dead now he was a young bright lively kid with a big future ahead of him. Glad there is some positive news like this around , sick of dealing with the greens oppressive rules and regulations (20mph, cycle lanes, increasing taxes etc etc). votethegreensout.com
So glad he's been found. My brother Eddie Gibson went missing in Cambodia and never came home. Presumed dead now he was a young bright lively kid with a big future ahead of him. Glad there is some positive news like this around , sick of dealing with the greens oppressive rules and regulations (20mph, cycle lanes, increasing taxes etc etc). votethegreensout.com tradebooker
  • Score: 0

9:17pm Fri 15 Feb 13

JoeBlow says...

Burgess Hill Gull wrote:
JoeBlow wrote:
Burgess Hill Gull wrote:
Although this incident had a happy ending it could so easily have resulted in the loss of life. I am sure the family of this foolhardy individual are delighted that he has been found. Rather than give him hero status, he should be made to contribute towards the cost of the recovery effort.
So speaks someone who has never made a mistake in his life.
Life is a learning experience. However the Australian terrain can be very unforgiving. This act displayed the highest degree of recklessness and stupidity. I wonder if you have ever stepped outside your own parish.
Yes, I've lived in several countries, thanks. Obviously in one of them I learned to be a little more compassionate than you.
[quote][p][bold]Burgess Hill Gull[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JoeBlow[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Burgess Hill Gull[/bold] wrote: Although this incident had a happy ending it could so easily have resulted in the loss of life. I am sure the family of this foolhardy individual are delighted that he has been found. Rather than give him hero status, he should be made to contribute towards the cost of the recovery effort.[/p][/quote]So speaks someone who has never made a mistake in his life.[/p][/quote]Life is a learning experience. However the Australian terrain can be very unforgiving. This act displayed the highest degree of recklessness and stupidity. I wonder if you have ever stepped outside your own parish.[/p][/quote]Yes, I've lived in several countries, thanks. Obviously in one of them I learned to be a little more compassionate than you. JoeBlow
  • Score: 0

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