Lonely Planet Writer

SOS in the sand helps rescue British tourist lost in bush

A  British tourist who got lost in the Australian bush was rescued after he wrote a SOS message on the sand.

British tourist lost in the Australian bush helped his own rescue by writing a SOS message in the sand
British tourist lost in the Australian bush helped his own rescue by writing a SOS message in the sand Image by Queensland Police Department / CC BY 2.0

Geoff Keys from Kent went astray after making what he described as “a silly decision” to take a shortcut back to his camp through Jardine National Park in north Queensland.

ITV news reported that the ‘shortcut’ between Canal Creek and Eliot Falls saw him lost some 12 kilometres from base while wearing only swimming trunks, shorts and a t-shirt and walking in his bare feet.

However, once he realised he had made a silly mistake and having spent the night out in the bush, he wrote his SOS message ‘HELP 2807’  in the sand together with an arrow showing where he was located along the river.

His friends raised an alert after he failed to return and a  helicopter was dispatched to search for him.  While the first helicopter ,which located him jumping up and down waving his hat was unable to get to him because of the rugged nature of the area, a bigger chopper arrived and winced the visitor to safety.

After being checked out in hospital and discharged, Mr Keys said he felt “stupid and lucky” over the incident. However, the father of three still has travel in his veins and plans to visit, America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East before returning to Britain.