A man lost on a fishing trip has survived a freezing Tasmanian night by huddling in a small cave and eating raw trout he’d caught earlier in the day.
The relieved angler was picked up by a rescue helicopter on Tuesday morning after a longer-than-expected stay in the state’s central highlands.
Inspector George Cretu said the 21-year-old, known just as Lawrence, got separated from his two mates on Monday morning and became disorientated.
He tried to find them but spent the afternoon and evening walking in the wrong direction, eventually taking refuge in a cave for the night and eating raw fish.
“He said he tried to bite into it Bear Grylls style, found the scales and skin a bit tough so he filleted it with a knife,” Mr Cretu said.
“It probably kept him from being hungry.
“It was 12 hours he got through and it probably helped him sleep with a bit of food in his belly.”
A Victorian-native and student at Tasmania’s Australian Maritime College, Lawrence was only wearing hiking gear as the mercury dropped to zero overnight.
He had set off with two friends at Lake Ada on Monday morning.
But the pair lost sight of him when he went over a hill and they went around.
When they didn’t rendezvous, his friends went back to their car and raised the alarm at 7.30pm.
A rescue helicopter was sent out immediately but turned back because it was too cloudy.
Searching resumed at first light on Tuesday, before the helicopter crew spotted him around 10am.
“He was a bit overwhelmed by all the attention,” Mr Cretu said.
“I gave him a mobile phone to talk to his mother in Victoria who berated him about not having a map.”
Mr Cretu said it was a reminder to plan ahead and take enough resources for the “what-if”.
“This group was out to have a good time and made a mistake.”