Backpacker found alive in bush after 12 days

 
Richard Cass visits his son Jamie Neale at a hospital near Sydney. AFPJamie Neale, 19, from Muswell Hill, north London, disappeared on July 3 when he left his hostel in the town of Katoomba, New South Wales, and went for a walk in the Blue Mountains.

He was found by two walkers about nine miles from where he disappeared. His father, Richard Cass, said Neale had eaten seeds and grass to stay alive. At night he slept by huddling up in his jacket and on one night sheltered under a log. He was taken to hospital suffering from exhaustion and dehydration.

“He did think he was going to die, he was that scared,” Cass said at a press conference after visiting his son. “He has come back from the dead.”

Cass flew to Australia to join the search but had given up hope that Neale would be found alive. He was told the news while preparing to leave Sydney on a flight and after holding a “little closure ceremony” and lighting a candle in the park to say goodbye. He said his son was “gaunt and scrawny” and had been losing hope he would ever be rescued as search helicopters failed to spot him waving at them.

Cass said his son survived by foraging in the bush.

“He was eating seeds. He ate some sort of weed which was like rocket, as he described, a kind of lettuce,” he said.

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