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Shoalhaven Bushwalkers Inc.

PO Box 403
Nowra NSW 2541

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Mittagong area - 1992

This was the club's first call out. A teenage girl had strayed from a picnic party west of Mittagong and had not returned by nightfall. Terrain on both sides of the road was very steep and covered in thick forest. Rendezvous for the search parties was the Mittagong Police Station at daybreak and an advanced HQ set up in a clearing near the place where the girl had last been seen. A strong contingent of bushwalkers from Sydney and the Tablelands as well as a small party from Shoalhaven joined Police, SES personnel and Bushfire crews for a briefing. The Confederation's cave rescue group was allocated the task of searching the most rugged of the surrounding gorges whilst the Shoalhaven party was told to follow the edge of the main ridge. Aerial searching was carried out by a helicopter and a light fixed wing aircraft.

About mid-morning Dawn found a cigarette packet which appeared to have been recently discarded. This information was radioed back to base with a request that the family of the girl be asked if she smoked and, if so, what brand she used. After some delay it was confirmed that she used this particular brand and the emphasis of the search was changed to the Shoalhaven search area. The helicopter spotted the girl within minutes of being switched to the new search pattern and was able to pick her up immediately and fly her back to base.

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