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Police search for bogged 4X4 in Gibson Desert.

Gibson Desert
Gibson Desert

Police have found and are organising the recovery of a 4X4 in the remote Gibson Desert, 300 kilometres northwest of Warburton.

The Toyota LandCruiser, driven by a couple, got bogged in wet conditions heading towards Warburton. We aren’t sure of their exact location, but can assume they are on one of Len Beadell’s Gary or Gunbarrel highways. Normally fairly dry, the Australian interior has received huge amounts of rain, which makes inland claypans and tracks very treacherous.

UPDATE: The couple has since been rescued by emergency services, read about it here.

After setting of their PLB, the couple has been found by a Police plane. They have set up camp, and are waiting for help, which is the right thing to do in the situation. They appear to be in good health.

The couple used a PLB, like this GME unit, to alert authorities to their location in the remote Gibson Desert.
The couple used a PLB, like this GME unit, to alert authorities to their location in the remote Gibson Desert.

Recovery teams are apparently working on a plan to reach the stricken couple in the Gibson Desert, and get them out of trouble.Back in 2005, two men died when their 4WD broke down near the Canning Stock Route. They were only nine kilometres away from Georgia Bore, but tragically walked in the opposite direction to find water before perishing back at camp.  In this day and age of communication and technology, it’s possible to reach out for help with the right gear. But it’s also very important to follow some basic tenets:

    Ensure your vehicle is as reliable as possible, carry the correct spares and tools and know how to use them.
    Carry good quality maps of the area you’re travelling in. GPS and navigators are great, but paper maps are a great fallback.
    Take extra food and water with you, in case you get stuck.Carry some form of emergency communication. This could be an HF radio, satellite phone (with credit!) or something like a Spot Tracker or PLB.
    Tell people where and when you’re travelling, so they can raise the alarm if they don’t hear from you.
    If you do get stuck, don’t leave your vehicle.

Do you have some tips for remote area travel? Let us know in the comments below.


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  • The Sailing 4WDer comments that Len Beadle would have got himself out of strife – that would no doubt be with the dozer following his Land Rover.

  • I’ve worked in this area, as well as driving a lot of the tracks solo (yes I had a lot of recovery and Comms kit). In good weather these tracks aren’t too bad, but the weather can change quickly (and if you’ve been out for a few days you probably haven’t had access to latest forecasts) and the tracks which were just rutted and sandy quickly become soft, some places more than others. You can be few days from getting yourself to any sort of settlement to hole up. It’s really good to see people carrying kit that allows them to call for help, and staying with the vehicle until help arrived. They did the right thing.

  • “driving on roads they don’t know”

    How irresponsible!

    Anonymous probably would add that they should have stuck to the bitumen too.

  • Its so easy to be critical of others before you have all the facts !
    One may possibly assume these people maybe quite well travelled? We can ask them when they return to civilisation!! Look at the facts they have a PLB,(and used it.) they have stayed with the vehicle and set up camp so im thinking they have food and water and are not panicking, good on them!!
    Maybe Anonymous should have a good look at them self.

  • Re comments from The Sailing 4wdriver

    Understand your comments however to put into context most people were complaining at the time about yachtsmen in an around the world race who knowingly went into hazardous areas in the southern oceans to pick up some time. The race organisers had absolutely zero rescue or recovery plans in case something went wrong. Their comment at the time was “it is accepted in maritime rescue that the nearest country has a responsibility to rescue the sailors.” They then refused any compensation to the Australian Government for rescues over two separate races from memory. In most people’s opinion it was sheer arrogance and completely abrogated any responsibility for what happened. The race organisers would simply have left them there.

  • Maybe anonymous can give us a list of the non essential gear this couple were carrying so any other travellers know not to take those things they don’t need!
    Obviously he knows them as he also knows, as he says, that they have never been on this track before.
    Suggest he should have passed on all his “excellent” advice and a detailed map beforehand not after they got bogged?
    Good one anonymous!!

  • Until the full story comes out and all the facts are known it is hard to comment or say to much, but in my view its better to call for help when things like this happen rather than wait. Who knows what the weather may have become, yes it could have dried out and they could have driven out but then again it could have kept raining and they would have been stuck for ages.
    And on the matter of not being with another vehicle, sometimes time constraints and the ability to find someone to tag along with is very difficult.

  • Funny how a couple out exploring the outback and getting into strife in the Gibson Desert don’t get publicly humiliated & chastised by the media for “putting rescuers lives on the line” and asked to repay the huge cost of their rescue.

    We Aussies are a funny bunch. It seems if you are a yachtie making an offshore passage or a sun-maddened Englishman who decides to row across an ocean and is forced to hit the EBIRB, you are a selfish fool, and must pay for your rescue, etc etc etc.

    I say this youngish couple are fantastic, they were having the adventure of their lives until circumstances out of their control stopped them cold. Like breaking a mast on a yacht or an English rower getting caught up in a huge storm and doing damage to their oars.

    Then they did exactly the right thing again by hitting the EPIRB. In nautical terms, it was a “Pan-Pan” situation – the keel hadn’t fallen off and no-one was lost overboard – it was like having a broken mast or a broken oar. They might have eventually gotten home under their own steam, but then again, in that country, they may not. No-one’s life was at risk – yet – though that could have changed in a week or so. We don’t know ANYTHING about the situation yet and MUST NOT rush to judgement.

    Len Beadell would have got himself out of strife in this situation with a laugh and had a nice cup of billy tea around the campfire afterwards. He wouldn’t have thought twice – it was part of living in the bush. They were a different breed, and utterly self-sufficient. It was a different time and NOBODY was coming for Beadell if anything had gone wrong.

    The people that found this couple are professionals, who make their living training for and carrying out rescues exactly like this. And what a fantastic job they have done – yet again. But remember it’s part of their profession, it’s part of what they do for a crust.

    We are so very lucky to live in this country in a time when the adventurous are still allowed to make such wonderful journeys. We can answer that yearning to go, to just get out there and go that burns deep within all of us here.

    Think before you criticise this couple, or ANY adventurer that gets in to strife on a journey that looks foolhardy to you as an outsider. Remember that YOU are going to be responsible in a small way for getting this freedom removed by Government in case someone might get stuck on a remote outback track, and has to call for help.

  • find it annoying that anonymous people have so much to say before knowing all the facts,
    id like to know what unessential gear they were carrying too as per richards question above

  • Idiot’s, I see this all the time. Idiots, not in a convoy, in a 4×4 packed full of nonessential gear driving on roads they don’t know, not prepared for the worst and living on the goodness of others. At least the weather is cool, they can have a nice little camp out while the authorities rescue them.

    Bogg your car? Dig it out, use an earth anchor and winch………

    • You make fair points, but I reckon you’re being a bit harsh. It’s impossible to make an accurate judgement without knowing what the situation was really like. Sometimes, s#@$ happens, you know?

  • Probably not a good idea to go into this sort of country alone, but having said that , this couple did everything right to ensure their survival. Now the argument over who pays the costs

  • Good to hear that someone has the common sense not to panick. Setting up camp and setting of the PLB they had time to sit back and take in the outback of Australia.

  • Glad to see they did the right thing.
    I’m sure they tried to get out of the bog and unlike many that like to play in bogs they prob didnt and finally had to call for help. We should commend them not chastise them.
    well done to police and all assisting them

  • yea u missed evrything anonymous even ur post missed it. im pretty sure they didnt plan on getting bogged and apart from the fact they have seemed to do everything right like stay with vehicle let of emergency beacon i think they did everything right thats what there for they didnt leave it till last minute until they died i think they showed a great example of being prepared for stuff like that

  • So , did this couple use the PLB just to call the RACV ? Whats the Emergency ? They got bogged and now have set up camp until it dries out . Did I miss something ?

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