Two lost bushwalkers rescued on weekend and fined for COVID breaches


ACT Policing and emergency services rescued two bushwalkers on the weekend after responding to a Triple Zero (000) call for assistance.

About 4.25pm Saturday (21 August 2021) police received a call from two people, a 28-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman, who had become lost in bushland in the Coree area.

While the bushwalkers were able to provide police with their location coordinates, due to the thickness of the bushland, Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel were deployed, to locate them, assisted by ACT State Emergency Service (SES) personnel.

The hikers were located about 8.20pm and after they were guided from the area by the SAR team, left the area in their own vehicle.

Both of the hikers will receive fines for breaching COVID-19 public health directions, as their hike was for more than the one hour duration currently permitted for outdoor exercise.

Officer in Charge ACT Road Policing, Detective Inspector Donna Hofmeier said the incident diverted police away from other important work as Road Policing officers were called to assist the hikers.

“These people went looking for a loophole in the COVID-19 regulations and will receive a fine for breaching the public health directions,” said Detective Inspector Hofmeier.

“The COVID rules in the ACT are clear, they allow for one hour of outdoor exercise a day. These people had planned a 12-kilometre hike, which would obviously take more than an hour to complete.

“They were insufficiently equipped for it, making it almost inevitable things would go wrong. Once they called for help, considerable police and emergency service resources were required to locate them and get them to safety.

“I hope this serves as a lesson, not just to these hikers, but to the whole community at this time."

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