Officials in Western Australia say a 62-year-old man survived nearly a week in one of the world’s most inhospitable environments after a feral camel hunt went terribly wrong.
On Tuesday morning, Reg Foggerdy was found by trackers over 100 miles from remote town of Laverton on the edge of the Great Victoria Desert. Foggerdy and his brother had set up a campsite nearby to hunt the feral camels that roamed the borders of the desert, but the hunter became lost after he struck out on his own. For six days, Foggerdy was at the mercy of the elements and ate only the small black ants that he could catch. He had no almost no water for the entire duration.
“He was extremely dehydrated, a bit delusional, but we’ve administered first aid and rehydrated him and it’s pleasing to say he is now sitting up and talking,” Western Australia police superintendent Andy Greatwood told The Telegraph.
Greatwood added that the area where Foggerdy had been stranded was extremely hot and it was only due to the man’s survival skills that he survived. The hunter was first reported missing by his brother after he reportedly started chasing after a camel that came near the camp. Following the animal toward the desert, Foggerdy became disoriented and eventually wound up about 10 miles from his camp.
“He only had shorts and a T-shirt, a cap and thongs with him,” Greatwood told ABC News.
Foggerdy also had a rifle, but he lacked food. Most importantly, he lacked water. Land and air search missions were conducted by the Western Australia police, but the desert is a big place and finding Foggerdy was no easy task—especially since the hunter sought shelter underneath a tree to avoid the sun.
Trackers with the police Tactical Response Group eventually found tracks left by Foggerdy during his camel chase, and it was easy enough to track them to where the hunter was laying. The 62-year-old man was airlifted to a hospital in Kalgoorlie where doctors said he is in stable condition.
“How you can survive without water and food is a miracle,” said his wife, Arlyn Foggerdy.
Family and friends described Foggerdy as an experienced outdoorsman and hunter, and that it has been an emotional episode waiting for news of his whereabouts. They also thanked rescuers for their efforts.
“[The searchers] never lost faith, I was so impressed with the service—they are just amazing people,” Foggerdy’s sister, Christine Ogden, told Radio 6PR.
“Our Officers complete training to prepare them for weeks like this and results like today make every second worth it,” Western Australia Police wrote on its Facebook page.
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