$55 Jamie Neale should have spent to save us a fortune
It’s brilliant news that English back packer Jamie Neale has been found alive. We should all be very happy for him and his family.
But no one, no matter how experienced they think they are, should ever set off on foot into the Australian bush without an Epirb. This especially applies to someone whose bush skills were as lacking as we now find out Jamie’s were.
If Neale had forked out the $55 it costs to rent an emergency beacon for a week, he could have been found within hours of realising he was in deep trouble, and the massive rescue operation that has spanned the past 11 days could have been avoided.
Jamie’s survival tale is, quite rightly, hot property this afternoon. And you can imagine he won’t be without media representation for long.
Who knows how much the British press will be prepared to dig into their astonishingly deep pockets to secure an exclusive with the 19-year-old, who is in incredibly good condition considering his ordeal.
The two bushwalkers who stumbled across him 15km from Katoomba this morning might also be worth a few bob to the media.
Jamie now needs to decide how much of any interview loot he reaps will be donated to the State Emergency Service, and the NSW Police and Ambulance services who have braved freezing and rugged conditions for almost two weeks in their search for him.
His Dad Richard Cass just told a live press conference Jamie walked straight past a sign that said “experienced bush walkers only” as he set out on his adventure. He didn’t even take his mobile phone, so its hardly surprising he didn’t bother with any other precautions.
The elated Mr Cass also described his son as a “pretty poor navigator”.
Now he’s been found alive and relatively well, it’s appropriate to call his actions what they were - recklessly irresponsible.
As Mr Cass just admitted, after a week and a half of Jamie being missing, he had given up hope of rescuers finding anything other than his body. He was preparing to leave Sydney after a ceremony yesterday to “farewell” his son.
It’s only thanks to an extraordinary amount of luck, that Jamie and his family have been reunited.
Anyone tempted to do something this stupid should be reminded - spend the $55, because one in a million have luck like Jamie’s and he’s used up the allotment for 2009.