A couple who spent three nights in Gippsland high country are in good spirits, and have thanked all involved in finding them.
Guy and Susan Beesley of Willung were located safe just before midday on Thursday, after four-wheel-drivers came across them at an intersection north of Licola and led them into the town.
“First thing we’d like to do is thank everybody, it's pretty emotional but we got through it, we had a bit of a plan once we realised where we were and that was what we were going to stick to until a certain time” Mr Beesley said.
”We’d like to thank the couple of Swiss guys who came along and brought us out, and the police for all the things that they did, and family and friends”.
Article continues below
The relieved couple credited remaining calm and having a set plan, which allowed them to negate the prickly situation on limited resources.
The grandparents had a handful of bananas, a protein bar and four bottles of wine, which quickly were emptied (with a tear in eye) to fetch water from a nearby location.
"We knew where we were, but we weren't confident to drive out unless we really had to, we'd already been down one road and we would have been out on Tuesday night but the bridge was out, otherwise we would have got out," Mr Beesley said.
"We had to turn back and then we were a little bit worried about going down the other one incase the same thing happened.
"We'd decided that it was a weekend coming up, so we thought well we got enough food to get through to the weekend if we just ration out.
"We then thought were not going to leave the car, so we'll just stay here, we found water we're just going to drink water until Friday or until somebody came along.
"Come Saturday or Sunday I'd kind of decided that we were gonna try and drive out one of the tracks."
The Swiss men who did eventually come along were from New South Wales and driving a Suzuki Swift, they had originally offered to guide the couple to a main road, but instead took them into Licola.
"These amazing guys said, and I don't think they really did, but they said we need fuel we'll take you to Licola, and I thought that was pretty amazing because they did, they took us all the way down," Mrs Beesley said.
The couple also thanked a park ranger named Bernie, who had helped them make contact with Susan's parents who are in their 90s, and offered a special thank you to their daughter and son in law for their amazing efforts.
Guy and Susan's family said they have been overwhelmed by the many messages of support.
Senior Sergeant David Fyfe credited the couple and said he was happy for the family for the great result, but offered a reminder to those looking to venture to the high country.
"The high country is aptly named, not too take away from the fact that this is a good news story because they got out okay, they had a plan when things went amiss, they had the presence of mind to stop and wait, seek shelter and water" Sgt Fyfe said.
"Especially over this long weekend and with the opening of the high country this weekend, it's probably a good time to say to everyone it's a lovely area but it has its risks, so have the right vehicle, have the right equipment, have the right skillset and if in doubt turn around and go back".
The family stressed that everyone involved in the search be thanked, and even were able to share a laugh over the lost bottles of wine.