A man who was missing for two and a half weeks in the Australian bush has been found alive after surviving on mushrooms and dam water, police say.
Police launched an extensive search for Robert Weber, who was last seen with his dog, leaving a hotel in Kilkivan, Queensland, on January 6.
Authorities scoured the area’s dense bushland, rivers, dams and steep terrain in wet conditions to search for Weber, but called off the rescue mission after a week.
Weber, 58, was discovered on Sunday morning – 18 days after he was last seen – by a property owner, who spotted him near a dam.
Weber said he became lost after trying to avoid traffic, telling CNN affiliate 7News: “I was due home that night. I was on my jolly way back home.”
“(It was) bumper to bumper traffic, so I’ll swing a right and go up the mountain and come down the other side,” he said. “I made a split-second decision of error and paid 18 days for it.”
Police said Weber’s car became “bogged down” on a road he was unfamiliar with, and that he stayed at his car with his dog for three days, before running out of water.
“He left on foot and became lost and remained at a dam where he survived by sleeping on the ground, drinking dam water and eating mushrooms,” Queensland police said in a statement.
“I had no shelter. I passed out. My body couldn’t cope,” Weber said. “That was the misery part of it.”
Authorities added that Weber was taken to hospital after suffering from exposure, but is otherwise “safe and well,” though his dog has not been found.