SYDNEY, June 10, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – A young South Korean hiker lost in dense Australian bushland for six days without food and in near-freezing temperatures has spoken about how dreams of a warm bed and her parents kept her alive.
Joohee Han, a 25-year-old tourist, shared her improbable tale of survival after she fell into a deep ravine while taking photos from a mountaintop south of Cairns in northern Queensland state.
Rescuers had said her chances of staying alive in the rugged terrain, where temperatures dropped to nine degrees Celsius (48 degrees Fahrenheit), had been “near zero”.
She disappeared on June 1 after telling friends she was going to climb Mount Tyson, but was only reported missing on Wednesday with rescuers eventually finding her on Thursday.
Han told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Saturday she was knocked unconscious for several hours after falling, and woke up at night on the side of a steep slope.
“I pretty much didn’t move from where I fell from because it was so steep. Even putting a foot wrong would’ve been instant death,” Han said.
“It still makes me teary thinking about that, thinking, ‘Am I going to die?’ But there was so much I still wanted to do, food I wanted to eat, and people I wanted to see again.
“I thought of my parents so much.”
Despite the fall of what she thought was about three-storeys high, Han only suffered a broken tooth, some bruises and cuts.
Thoughts of her family and food kept her going as she struggled with the cold each night, she added.
“I just craved the stuff I normally ate, mee goreng, cereal, bananas,” Han said.
“I thought so much about the things I wanted to do when I got out of here and stepped on solid ground, but then I’d get sad again because I knew I could only do those things if I stayed alive, they were things I couldn’t do if I died.”
Han eventually was able to make it to a ledge near a waterfall, where she drank water and screamed for help until a nearby hiker heard her and alerted police.
“I didn’t realise how happy I could be just standing on the ground until then,” she added of her rescue.