Stranded by floods and lost, a German backpacker survived for about two weeks in Australia’s inhospitable Outback on a diet of insects, Australian police said yesterday.
Daniel Dudzisz, 26, went missing last month southwest of Longreach in remote Queensland as he reportedly tried to walk solo more than halfway across Australia.
Police said a motorist picked up the bedraggled tourist on Thursday near Cooper Creek outside the town of Windorah.
Dudzisz — who is diabetic and insulin-dependent — told police he waded through floodwaters and ate flies to survive his ordeal in the vast and wild Outback.
Australian Inspector Mark Henderson told the Australian Broadcasting Corp: “He joked about never going hungry in the Australian Outback because of the amount of flies you can eat for their protein, apparently.”
Dudzisz told police he was determined to continue his journey to Australia’s Northern Territory and was last seen heading beyond the remote town of Mount Isa to cross the state border.
“It’s a very remote and isolated area with lots of hazards,” Henderson told reporters, with one of them the deadly inland taipan snake which was currently “out in force” due to flooding.
“It’s not great territory” for walking at night, as Dudzisz does, added Henderson, saying there were also fierce wild boars in the area.
Henderson said police became worried when Dudzisz set off from Windorah on Feb. 17 heading to Jundah, about 90km away, in the path of floodwaters, and was not seen again.
The inspector said the German walker later recounted he had lost his way and became stranded between two flooded areas of the Barcoo River, spending about 10 days on an “island,” which formed in the massive stretch of water.
“He had very limited food. He told us he’s eaten flies and he’s probably right,” Henderson said, adding that the supplies of baked beans and cereal he had when he left Windorah had been quickly exhausted.
“We certainly thought he had perished; we certainly had grave concerns for him. Medical experts had told us he wouldn’t have survived that long without food,” he said.
In a Feb. 6 interview with the southwest Queensland weekly Warrego Watchman, Dudzisz said: “What I enjoy about the walking most is just how much closer nature feels... And all the little unexpected encounters and adventures that tend to accumulate along such a journey.”
The German tourist related a story of a night-time fight with an aggressive kangaroo and also being shot at by a farmer who mistook him for a kangaroo.