February 19, 2019 17:08:54
An experienced bushman who vanished into the middle of the remote Central Australian outback has been found resting under a tree, 66 kilometres from where he went missing.
- Community members discovered Harold Morton on the outskirts of a tiny outstation called Trew Bore on February 17
- Police are continuing to try ascertain the circumstances around what happened to Mr Morton since he was reported missing
- A police spokesperson said Mr Morton was “tired and gaunt” but otherwise appeared healthy
Harold Morton, 44, was reported missing by family members on the evening of February 1.
He was last spotted walking northwards from the isolated Red Centre community of Ampilatwatja, 320 kilometres north of Alice Springs, earlier the same day.
His disappearance triggered several days of extensive air and land searches by NT Police, which were eventually called off due to the region’s extreme temperatures.
In the following days, footprints believed to belong to Mr Morton were found on a dirt track 4.5 kilometres north-east from Ampilatwatja — but no other signs of Mr Morton were reported since.
But on February 17, more than two weeks since his disappearance, Mr Morton was found safe and well by community members, resting under a tree on the outskirts of a tiny outstation called Trew Bore.
A police spokesperson told the ABC he was found “visibly tired and gaunt but seemed well”.
“Police are making enquiries to ascertain the reason for the man’s disappearance,” a statement read.
“Police would like to thank members of the public for their assistance.”
Mr Morton, who police previously described as an experienced Aboriginal bushman, is now understood to be back in Ampilatwatja.
It remains unclear how he survived for so long during the extreme desert temperatures or if there was anybody else living at Trew Bore, but police said they would talk to him after he rested.