Happy ending for missing man

March 24, 2024 BY

What a relief: Rhys Hutchinson was located on Tuesday 12 March, after being lost since 18 February. Photo: SUPPLIED

A MOORABOOL man who was missing for more than three weeks has luckily been found safe and sound, having lived off the land during his time lost.

Rhys Hutchinson from Bacchus Marsh went missing on Sunday 18 February, with family saying he often goes on long walks without much on his person, including frequent walks around Lerderderg State Park towards Blackwood.

But going so long without contacting anyone was out of character for Mr Hutchinson.

Thankfully, on the afternoon of Tuesday 12 March – 23 days after he went missing – Mr Hutchinson was located at the Lerderderg Gorge.

In a statement, Mr Hutchinson’s family expressed their gratitude to those who located and rescued him.

“Unfortunately we aren’t sure who the kind man was who came across Rhys and gave him the first bit of food he had in almost 23 days, but Rhys says those were the best Snickers and log of salami he’s ever had,” the family said.

“We just firstly want to thank him for his help and assistance. No words can describe the feeling of hearing his [Rhys’] voice over the phone in so long.

“Next is the two SES responders who assisted Rhys that day, also we express our thanks tenfold.

“Secondly, to all those who shared our brother’s photo, went on walks and stayed alert, put up flyers, visited shelters, food buses, and churches, we are eternally grateful for all the help and the ongoing support we were given in these last three weeks.

“It is indescribable.”

According to the Hutchinsons, Rhys had travelled to a place he knows well, but travelled further on 18 February due to lack of water, and became disoriented due to smoke from the bushfires.

“Rhys would like to say a massive thank you to everyone, he only now is coming to the realisation of it all, as he has seen the flyers and some of the wonderful messages, but right now he is on the mend healing a lot of cuts and bruises, and filling an empty stomach to the top,” the family said.

“We are hoping to get back to all the beautiful messages sent between the four of us but just know we appreciate them so very much and will try our best to respond when we can.”