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Dad and sons found after 10 days lost in wilderness


Steven van Lonkhyuzen

Steven van Lonkhyuzen

Steven van Lonkhyuzen

A five-year-old boy and his seven-year-old brother are recovering in hospital after surviving with their father for 10 days in the Australian wilderness.

Their ordeal began on December 11 when Steven Van Lonkhuyzen took a wrong turn during a family road trip and then got his 4x4 vehicle bogged down in mud.

They were rescued after farmer Tom Wagner went searching and found them in the remote Expedition National Park.

"They were pretty hungry by the time I got to them and pretty happy to see me," said Mr Wagner.

He said the younger boy, Timothy, kept asking him if he had any eggs, while the older one, Ethan, appeared dehydrated.

He said the father had given the limited food he had to his sons, who themselves had gone with little or nothing to eat for a week.

"Luckily it rained," he said. "Otherwise they would have perished."

Supt Mick Bianchi of Queensland Police said Mr Van Lonkhuyzen had planned to drive from his home in Brisbane to Cairns using an inland route.

He said the boys were getting their strength back after their ordeal, during which temperatures rose to about 38C.

Supt Bianchi said the family had limited provisions but luckily it was stormy at times and they were able to collect rainwater in a plastic container.

He said the father had tried to attract attention by laying out high-visibility items around his vehicle.

There was little or no mobile phone reception in the park, so Mr Van Lonkhuyzen had not been able to contact anybody.