Tourists get bogged, call rescue, don’t engage 4WD.

Tourists Bogged Litchfield

A couple of English tourists have been left looking a bit silly after getting their 4WD bogged, and calling on emergency services, but failing to engage 4WD to get themselves out of trouble.

Tourists Bogged Litchfield

In what looks to be a rental 76 Series LandCruiser, the tourists were exploring Litchfield National Park in the Northern Territory, and got into trouble crossing the Reynolds River. 70 Series LandCruisers are a part-time 4WD, and you can see where the rear wheels have dug themselves into the ground.

The tourists used the EPIRB they had on-board, which notified emergency services of their location. They were found 10 kilometres from the stricken car. The car was de-bogged, and the tourists went back on their way, with a few 4WDing tips up their sleeve from the local constabulary.

It’s a story without a sad ending, and a great reminder that it’s completely useless to go 4WDing with all of the correct gear, but no idea on how to use it. Along with preparing your 4WD, don’t forget to prepare yourself as well.



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  • I would never ask someone to pay me to help them out of trouble, but they will need to buy my spare snatch strap if they need one but were too stupid to bring one. Can’t afford one? Really??? Can afford to spend $Ks on buying a 4WD but not $100 on basic recovery gear? Stay on the bitumen then!

  • Well the pro’s and con.s of safety gear , recovery gear, use of EPIRBs . If off road carry it as someone will get to you if you have done the basics ;notified someone, stuck to the track you said you were going on and have a EPIRB . EPIRB brings assistance, recovery gear if broken is yours not some other poor person who stopped to help and you won’t want to pay as soon as your out of trouble.

  • There are people out there & owners of Nissan Patrols in particular that do not understand the “Auto” hub mode on their vehicle. They have never read the Nissan owners handbook & therefore unaware of the correct procedure in operating the Patrol in 4WD for heavy conditions. I helped out a fellow & his wife in the high country one day his vehicle was side ways blocking the track. It was a wet day & conditions were slippery but not boggy or really dangerous. The first problem was tyre pressures he was running B/stones with 40 psi all round. I explained the benefit of reducing tyre pressures & I informed him I had 18 psi in the Pajero tyres. He agreed to lower his tyres to the same pressure as mine. So the Stauns came in handy again. I noticed that his hubs were not in the “Lock” position & explained to him why they should be & basically how the “Auto” hubs operated. He basically told me that because I was driving a Pajero I didn’t understand the concept of the Nissan system. I told him I had owned a Y61 or GU as people call them for 5 years and sold it to buy a Pajero. He tried to move the vehicle without luck. I asked him why did Nissan hav e the word “LOCK” on the front hubs & proceeded to enlighten him again. He got the wheel braces,turned the hubs onto lock & drove out of the situation easily. I am not going to print what his wife said. Later on when we had camped with our friends he came over to chat. Handing me a cold beer he told me that he had owned the Patrol for 6 years & was always getting bogged in mud & or sand. His wife told us that she never really liked the Patrol that much because it didn’t have a cassette player & she had to throw all her tapes out because she couldn’t play them in the Patrol. I opened the passenger door and said “You mean this cassette player” His wife turned a “Whiter shade of pale”!!! Moral of the story. “Slow down,take the time to smell the roses” If unsure consult the owners user manual or go on line to popular 4X4 forums.

  • Good on you Randall. In the true Aussie spirit, you wouldn’t leave anyone to the mercy of the outback. Doesn’t matter how stupid they are. Lead by example, show them what they’re doing wrong and get them on their way. I know there can be some ignorant, uneducated Aussie 4 wheel drivers, but the tourists come from places totally unlike our country. We have to expect that they have no idea. Many have died because they are out of their depth coming here and thinking they can get into a fourby and go anywhere. We know they can’t so it’s up to us, those of us with the experience, to do the humane thing and help them out before they become a statistic. Another plaque on the road side. What I’m saying is, uphold the spirt of ANZAC because that’s what makes us who we are. Help your mates, and help those who aren’t.

  • you would think the rental co would go through ops with them,or at least ask if they knew what a 4×4 was.if someone jump out a plain,didnt pull rip cord,whos fault lack of instruction.people are stoopid unless you advise them of workings.classic is, japs hired push bikes in dar[win cycled to s.a,died,not pretty.

  • Some very pertinent stories here. All so true. So far, about the only tow I’ve had to do was when a young fella tried to drive his 2 wheel drive small car onto a beach access road and became stuck. Came back sheepishly to campsite and saw our units, and wanted to know if ?someone might be able to pull him out. An easy job, he was apologetic and embarrassed, but very quiet about it. Truly dont mind helping out. Might be me one day. Not really important, I know, but some of the spelling in prior stories iz pretty orful… cackle…..some good reading.

  • Was on the Gibb late last year and drove by a stranded 4×4 on the side of the road with a flat. I pulled over to help and the young couple were from France. The guy was trying to jack the 4×4 up from the chassis rail. The jack at full extension with the rear wheel still on the ground… He was tuning the knob on the bottle jack with the crappy pliers you get in a cars tool kit. His English was poor and I explain that his suspension travel was keeping the wheel on the ground. I grabbed my jack, put it under the diff and a few turn wheel is off the ground…. Anyway it gets better. He tells me his spare is shredded and then hands me this $2 shop tyre plug set and said I have these but I don’t know what to do with them. I chuck them back in his car and grabbed my Compressor and repair kit. With the compressor hooked up to his 4×4 and I tell him to take the car out of gear and start the engine so I don’t flatten his battery …big mistake. He puts car in gear and starts the engine and bang car drops of jack onto diff…. So lucky. Anyway I managed to fix his tyre and get him on his way again. Before he left I checked his tyre pressures and omg he was running his tyres at about 35psi. I dropped them down and off he went……..

  • Early last winter, up the top end of the Perisher Valley spent some time watching some Park Rangers trying to get their Troopy to move on a patch of snow. After about 4 attempts including the passengers out and pushing, my son went over and showed them how to engage the front hubs………
    They did not look happy with a 14 year old telling hem how to get going.

    • True Anonymous, some of the rangers we get are straight out of uni and don’t really have much of an idea, but you ask them, they know everything, lol and they want your job!

  • As a park ranger I used to get this all the time. When I was based at Owen Springs Reserve just out of Alice Springs I was on patrol one day and came across a bogged Cruiser and no sight of the driver. I noticed immediately that the hubs were not locked in. It was 40 plus degrees and I could see the effort on the ground that this person had put in trying to extricate the vehicle. I followed his steps for about 5 kilometres and found him exhausted and with no water. After giving him a drink I started driving him back to his car assuring him we would have it out of there in no time flat. On the way I explained to him about how the 4wd system worked and about the hubs. When we got back to the car I showed him the hubs, locked them in and asked him to drive out. He looked at me as if to say, no way will that work. Flabbergasted he drove the car out with ease. The look on his face was priceless and then he erupted into anger and said he was going to give the what for to the hire car mob for not explaining how the 4wd worked….to say he was not a happy man was an understatement…..and yes, I can tell you another Pommy story if you like…

  • No news here…anyone on this website will know ho to engage 4wd (except for Prado and LC 100 / 200 and new 110 / Defender / Disco / RR drivers) so the article is more like rubber necking at an accident than news worthy or educational. Click bait at the Poms expense…only because the Wallabies got rolled I assume!

  • Basically it comes down to “duty of care”. The hire company has a duty of care to its clients to provide a vehicle which works as promised (IE no stuck low range lever) and a duty to instruct the operator (hiree) in its correct use, including how to lock hubs, use the 4WD/low range lever etc. failure to do the above is a failure of care. it is arguable if the hire company has a duty to show them how to extract themselves from a bog etc as most lease agreements actually do not permit you to go “off road”. on the upside the EPIRB worked.

    Similarly when we come across people who for what ever reason are stuck we have a “Duty of Care” to help them if we can (even if they are ungrateful yobs). Help can be a wide range of options depending on your willingness to get involved and the people who are stuck. you may physically help them or you may offer to call professional help when you get out provided they have the basics for survival until that help arrives. Its your call.

    Personally i prefer to help and get them on their way if I can. I am not fused if I use my gear to do so and if it breaks so what. If they offer to pay i tell them to use the money to buy their own gear or just help next person they find in a similar situation. better to pay it forward in my view.

  • I remember the most disastrous one of all two German tourists in a troopy stuck in the sand at Haligan bay lake Eyre, were there for days and then the female one tried to walk back to William Creek, blazing hot, She succumbed after about 20 ks. When the car was found with the male driver still alive tyres were let down and vehicle driven out of the bog, Lady was found after. although they left name at william creek pub it is not their job to chase after them (as often after leaving name the perons in question don;t call back just keep going), I really blame the hire company, they should have been given strict instruction, the vehicle should have had an EPIRB and/or SATPHONE at the very least and, if company was not sure about their expertise, ordered them not to leave black top or at most formed road (Oodnadatta track is usually very good, unless you are a towny expecting to do 110 kms an hour in which case you come to grief or use up a considerable amount of tyres

  • Gidday,
    I’m in a four wheel drive club, and when somebody join’s the club we put them through a driver awairness program teaching them the basics in hill stall recovery, safety, the diffirent types of strap’s and uses, plus demo’s on how to use them, rated shackles – etc, driving over log’s, side slope , how pick the best line etc, then we look at the new members fourbys at recovery points on there trucks. I could go on and on but it’s a good idea to have some type of training on how to use your fourby and the recovery gear you mite need when travling around oz. Or look at joining a club in your area.

  • This idiocy is mainly caused by lunatic TV advertising that shows similar vehicles negotiating Ayres Rock, Mt Everest and vertical walls etc. at a great rate of knots (and destroying the track/countryside by their stupidity in the process)….If the Hirer does NOT know the first thing about a (selective) 4WD vehicle when he tries to hire it then don’t let the idiot drive it in the first place ..I realise that this comment also refers to the number of jockeys who also drive like absolute drongos on the bitumen as well…..They really do not,contrary to popular opinion, handle or stop like a Ferrari..

  • some years ago on Fraser, I had a hired Landcruiser full of back-packers fly past me on the beach, screaming out and music blaring, (..and I suspect alcohol flowing).. We decided this was prolly the mob that invaded our camp site the night before (round midnite, ) so… going round one of the headlands with some tight bends, soft sand, and some steep drop-offs.. we saw same Landcruiser.. nose-first, over the edge, lights still on.. and some other bemused 4-wheel-drivers looking at the carnage.. luckily, no humans were injured.. but we quite happily drove on, leaving them to their fate.
    Call it Karma, fate, divine retribution, whatever…
    you can rent them a fourby, even teach them how to drive it..but you cant teach some people ‘good manners’…

  • I was born and bred in the bush and we had it instilled in us that you always stopped to help some one in trouble irrespective what it was, remember always the big wheel of life keeps turning for us all and we never know when we might need help ourselves, having said that it does make you wonder why some people are allowed past the city limits.

  • Myself who comes from a country where you can get large amounts of snow, you would naturally stop and help, even if you do not have a 4×4, many people do not carry the necessary emergency equipment on those days either, Shovels blankets etc.
    Nobody I believe goes out and tries to or expects to get stuck, A 4×4 is to get you out of trouble, not into it.
    People make mistakes, that makes us Human.
    People help others fix those mistakes, that makes Humanity.

  • Had the same experience at Henbury Crater some years ago. An Dutch family had hired a Nissan Patrol and been given no instructions on how to engage the front hubs and been given no recovery gear.
    They like us had driven down the wrong road and had become stuck in the sand in a creek. After some digging to get the sand away from the diff and the back of the vehicle I asked them if they had engaged the front wheels. Their should be more responsibility on hire firms to better inform their customers

  • If this is a rental car the fault lies with the rental company in that they didn’t make sure their customers have an understanding of the equipment they’re about to use, especially the basics. We shouldn’t assume people from another country know the things we know about 4wding, even the basics. Go to Frazer Is. and you’ll see plenty of na├»ve tourists out of their depth. Hirers lift your game.

  • In 1986 while visiting Karratha my wife and I decided to have a bit of a picknik out the back of the Lia area while we where parked up on a granite out crop we watch a vehicle try to cross a track that had some water on it half way across they stopped.
    We finished our meal and decided to have a closer look as we could see kids around the car as well as adults, turned out the reason they had stopped was he had decided to engage the front hubs pity there had been a king tide the night before mudflats and water not the most of grand of ideas to try to cross. After watering the kids he wonted us to drive our 4×4 out to tow him out of this mess told him no and that I wanted his jack and spare slid it sideways of the jack out of the holes put it in reverse and out it came his only comment was that i had put mangrove mud in his car thats when my wife decided that she had had enough of his attitude and gave him what for and that we had got them out and next time have a two way or some means of communication if they got into trouble again it is a hard country and we had only stopped because of the kids being in summer they would have not lasted long on the salt flats.

  • At Fraser Island in 2014, we met some foreign tourists who had hired a Land Cruiser 105 like ours. They asked us if there was any trick in engaging low range, because the 4WD lever in their vehicle wouldn’t lift to allow low range to be selected. As happens in many Cruisers, the lever was stuck, as ours had been when we bought the vehicle. To their credit, these people had made it up to Ocean Lake, north of Waddy Point without low range. We suggested that they ask for a partial refund of hire charges.

  • last year we did the ott – went thru palm creek no probs but couldnt get up the other side — i thought whats wrong with the car — forgot to put it in four wheel drive mmmm was good after that / heh === we all make mistakes

  • i have had some great 4×4 trips and almost every time you come across someone stuck,to me it doesnt matter how they got in that spot i will help if i can.
    i believe what goes around comes around.

    • they walk amongst us. well 4×4 amongst us in this case. in have a real 4×4 now but i did have a territory. up the colour sands. (as a kid in a 2×4 was norm) the P plate driver in the jacked up Hilux before me Hooned over the crossover. huge rooster of sand. i was stuck in ruts that would hold up a unimog. i didn’t proceed. i stopped. i wasn’t stuck as yet. started rebuilding the track in front. the old mits behind me went around me and helped pull me through. i gave him a brand new tree hugging nylon sling. i did have my own recovery gear. plus i knew the chance of being stuck where high as it had been dry for ages. so i took giveaways as well.

      what happened to falcons and holdens on the beach. i have an extra 40 mm myself now, just to get past the P plate hi lift hilux.

  • Some 30 years ago, on one of the beaches that we were once allowed to drive on and people would go fishing , I was down there with my wife and my two young kids. We parked our 4×4 out of the way and went for a walk and took the kids for a paddle.
    Along comes a guy with his wife in his new Toyota Landcruiser and I warned him not to drive into a particular section of beach as it was as soft as talk powder. Talk about verbal abuse ! So we carried on. Upon our return, most of the folks fishing had gone, the wind was getting cold so we made our way back to our 4×4. There to my surprise -NOT was the landcruiser slowly spinning his wheel. I suggested he lower his tyre pressures, and once again copped a verbal spray. Get into out vehicle and sat and watched him bury himself. Over the radio we all heard the plea for help. Needless to say the air was full of unprintable comments. He came running up to us and pleaded to help. My reply was that seeing as we had copped two lots of verbal abuse , suggest he walk to the road and ring someone to come and rescue him. NOT ONE person on the beach was willing to help after hearing the abuse we copped when offering him some friendly help and advice. You win some you lose some.

    Generally we always stop to assist anyone in a 4×4 no matter where they are as you never know how bad the situation is and if there is a life saving emergency, and I hope that others would do the same for my family and myself should such a situation arise,

  • IMHO, Rental agencies should ensure hirers of their vehicles are competent in their operation. This should be a legal requirement.
    The issue of assisting folks who come to grief through their own stupidity also needs tightening up. I concur with Muzza’s comments 100% having similar experiences myself, and having the individual who needed help, disappear without so much as a word of thanks after using my gear. I do hope, readers are aware of the conditions for the use of snatch straps and how many times they can be used. Thus your snatch strap can be totaled just by helping out some idiot who couldn’t be bothered to carry their own.
    Funny thing is, I’ve never left home with out recovery gear, yet have never ever needed to use it for myself. Of course the question remains, is all this recovery gear really necessary ? The following may upset some die hards.
    Some years back, before the 4WD crazy hit hard, I was the owner of a HQ Holden sedan, decided to visit a remote beach in the W.A. Mid west area that I’d heard was a cool fishing spot. Followed dirt road into sand dunes where we came upon a large encampment of 4WD’s and caravans/campers well established, also a big sign advising that all towing assistance would require renumeration for their efforts. Large group were sitting around camp fire with the obligatory can in hand, smiling as we drove past in my HQ, one guy was already walking over to his 4WD in preparation to follow us when we got bogged. And bogged we did become. The guy with the 4WD came up and offered to pull us out for a fee, I politely declined, advised him we’d take care of it ourselves, he sniggered and told us he may not be available when we decide we need him. Told him we would not be needing him. My mate was getting quiet worried by now, as the old HQ, was bogged deep. 4WD guy took off in a stink. I opened the boot and got out my recovery gear, which consisted of half a dozen jute potato bags, shovel and car jack. Hub cap provided solid base for jack, wheels were jacked up one at a time, potato bags were filled with sand placed under wheels, car dropped back onto potato bags and riven out, easy as. Potato bags were picked up and emptied, returned back past the camp where got strange stares. The whole thing took about 45 minutes.
    Moral of the story, is it really necessary to carry all the recovery gear we are always told is necessary ? I for one, do not believe so. Another occasion I was forbidden to accompany a 4WD group on a trip because I did not have TWO spare wheels. My reply was, I can fix punctures, or at the worst, can fit inner tube thus second spare not necessary. Didn’t cut any ice with the group. How many 4WD’vers can repair a puncture, or fit a inner tube if required , without an assortment of tools other than tyre levers and rubber mallet ? How many know you can break a bead with your 4WD ?
    There’s more to remote driving, than just hopping in and driving , no matter how much recovery gear you carry.

  • Sorry Tony but your comment is pretty ignorant. If people can afford to buy a 4WD vehicle, then there is no excuse to purchase a basic recovery kit if you intend to go off road with it.

    I’ve seen people going off road and deliberately not carry any recovery gear with them because they know “someone” out there will be dumb enough to help them out.

    A few months ago I had been out to the Watagans with 3 other drivers, all of which were equipped with full recovery gear, including myself. We came across 2 other 4wd vehicles with young drivers and passengers on board and noticed they were having a very hard time trying to get through one of the hard tracks safely. They would not listen to any of our advice in order to get through the tracks safely and what was more disturbing was when one of the young drivers asked us if we had recovery gear (because they did state that they had no recovery gear at all) we told him that we did, he started to yell out to his other driver to go even harder on the track because if he got stuck then he expected us to save them. As soon as that was said, we got into our vehicles and drove away from them.

    There are many drivers like these who do not respect other 4WD drivers, let alone themselves. I dont know what school you’re from Bob, but its people like you who encourage other pathetic drivers to not have the recovery gear they should because they will be waiting for people like you to come across in order to help them out with their stupidity.

  • I was with my 4WD Club a few years ago on a beach south of Mandurah WA when we came on a brand new Nissan Patrol bogged to the floor. The driver with wife and kids aboard was clearly having a bad day.
    When asked “have you engaged four wheel drive” he yelled ” It IS a four wheel drive, I just bloody bought it!”
    When we all stopped laughing we pulled him out and showed him which gear lever did what.

  • The way I read if Muzza had more than one snatch strap and actually sold him one , after he pulled him out , that’s probably fair enough .

  • Have to agree with Muzza. Going out without any recovery gear, even a basic snatch strap is unthinkable. Charge someone for the use of your gear, I agree. In my early years of beach driving, I was always the first to offer help to clowns who had no idea what they were doing.
    The last straw was helping a guy out of a bog , only to have him attach my strap incorrectly and in the process of pulling him out , snap the strap. His response “thanks mate” throw the strap on the ground and drive off.
    I’m left to buy another strap.
    Sorry clowns if your car and life isn’t in danger, I’m not using my gear.

  • i dont know what school muzza is from but i always help out, if you require someone to pay you to help them i hope i never come across you.

  • It is true not everyone knows everything about 4WDing & I have been in the bush most of my life & I know that there is still people that R still learning things about 4WDing cause not everyone knows everything.
    But the ones who don’t engage the Hubs do need some training on how to use a 4×4 before they even leave the hire companies.

  • I know there are fools out there mate but as 4 wheel drivers we should show some respect and help others as even with all the knowledge we might think we have we do make mistakes too I have been a 4 wheel driver for 20 years and have helped others in difficulty as I have all the gear. that does not mean everyone can afford the gear so show some compassion.

  • Came across a couple of young British lads bogged to the rails in a GQ Patrol on a Beachport beach one night. It was dark and we parked up on a rocky point to see how far the new spotties would light up the beach. Off in the distance, I could just make out a dim light being waved. So off we went and discovered them well below the tide line. They had removed all of their camping gear and belongings to the dunes and had been trying to dig the GQ out with a cricket bat. First thing I notice, the hubs were not locked in. Secondly, they admitted not actually putting it in 4wd before getting bogged. Tyre pressures were up around 38 psi. Se we locked the hubs, dropped the tyre pressure, dug out around the truck with a proper shovel and with a very light snatch, had them off the beach in about 15 minutes. They were ecstatic and promised a few beers at the pub. So we we happened to be in the pub the next night and wouldn’t you know it, they acted like they didn’t know us. Even after a conversation about the recovery, no beers. Not the end of the world, but it was just rude to offer and not follow up.

  • 40 ks sth of William Creek. Wet, slippery, muddy condition. Fool calls up requesting I pull over and let him overtake as he was in a hurry. My answer was” sure when it was safe to do”. After 3 further requests of the same and my answer being the same , Fool has a go. nearly made it, but to much right boot and down into the table drain he went.He requested a tow and I agreed . Suggested he play in the mud and connects his snatch strap to the vehicles. Guess what ? Not 1 item of recover gear. Asked if I had the gear and after some negotiation Fool agreed to purchase one of my straps. Success was achieved on the 3rd attempt. I hope he learnt a lesson. Point.. If you need to use other peoples gear, expect to pay for it.

  • On our first trip to Fraser Island a couple of years ago a bloke in a Colarado drove straight onto the beach at Inskip Point without letting his tyres down first. Instantly got himself bogged. We were Fraser Island novices but at least we knew that much!

    • seen that one too. everyone just drove past him. he hasn’t made 20 on the sand. it was high tide and unloading into soft sand. don’t know how he made it to the barge in the first place.

  • Stupidity can not be inoculated against.
    It was many years ago, the blacktop was not even finished past Woomera that’s how long ago it was. Well to tell the truth the blacktop was there but barred off with 44 Gal drums and signs not to go on it so the old G60 and bondwood van trailed along at the bottom of the rise up to the road for ages. I was totally annoyed when a Commodore shot along the new road above us but quite happy when a few minutes later found him going back the other way. Reason? There were no bridges constructed yet, lucky he did not fall in a big hole, and he did have to go all the way back to the start, the sides were too steep to come down.

    Made my day!


  • The Reynolds river road is not even open yet, so what were they doing there in the first place?
    Also if the local constabulary did not take any legal action against the hapless tourists, i for one would like to know why.

  • I can’t believe there are still people out there that have no idea on how to use a 4×4 when they hire these vehicles . With so much info out there with magazines and more importantly the internet these people still do stupid things like that. I’ve had a couple of 4x4s over time and don’t no everything there is to no, So before I head out to do some real out back driving I’m doing a 4×4 course, I have been bogged a few times and needed help so for piece of mind its the right thing to do. Who wants to waste valuable rescources when it can be used else where. I think the hire companies should at least give them a crash course on how to use the 4×4 they hire.

  • A few years ago we were travelling along the King’s Canyon to Hermansburg Rd in July after some rain. We were obviously the first along the road that day and the conditions were pretty slippery. Half way along we saw in the distance and right off the side of the road, and bogged to the eyeballs, a Nissan Patrol. The occupants heard us coming and flagged us down, as it was on a pretty steep slippery hill I went past them to the top of the rise then walked back: Didn’t want to get myself stuck as well. As I approached I was greeted by four Czech tourists who had been stuck almost 24 hrs, spending a freezing night in the outback. To say they were happy to see me is an understatement. After greetings the drivers first comment was “this 4WD is useless, I couldn’t keep it on the road. My first reply was, “have you locked the hubs in”, his quizzical look told me straight away where the problem was, so I gave him a quick lesson in how an old school 4WD works. Even after this he was unsure and asked me to drive it out of the bog, which I quickly did without the need for recovery gear. You’d have thought I had my undies on the outside and a big red cape they were so happy, they didn’t leave our rear bumper till we found the black top again a few hours later!

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