Three bushwalkers were located after they got lost after dark at Barrenjoey Headland.

Just before 6.30pm yesterday (Saturday, 30 July) NSW Police were called to Barrenjoey Headland at Palm Beach after three bushwalkers were reported lost.

Three people, out walking together as a group, had become lost after diverting from the main trail to the lighthouse at Barrenjoey Headland. Despite the lighthouse itself, the area is in near complete darkness, which is why it has been nominated as part of a dark skies initiative and is popular with local stargazers.

Milky Way from Palm Beach © Northern Beaches Advocate

Image of the night sky taken at the scene

Using flashlights to access the track in near total darkness, officers from Northern Beaches Police Area Command also called for the assistance of rescue firefighters from Fire and Rescue NSW Narrabeen Station along with NSW Rural Fire Service, who activated crews from Ingleside Rural Fire Brigade and the Elvina Boat from the West Pittwater RFS Brigade.

Police vehicles at Palm Beach lighthouse

Having made their way up towards the lighthouse (main image), police officers were guided to the vicinity of the stray walkers by other people on the track. They were able to locate the three walkers a short distance off the track and brought them back to the designated trail, and assisted them to descend safely back to the beach where they could return to their vehicle.

NSW Police officers returning from Palm Beach lighthouse

Shortly before 7.00pm, with the news police had located the missing walkers safe and well, without injury, firefighters were called off from the search, returning to station.

NSW Police recently issued a reminder to outdoor enthusiasts to be prepared before heading into the bush, following a series of rescues involving injured or lost hikers.

With increased popularity of hiking in National Parks during the COVID-19 pandemic, NSW Police urged hikers to be prepared for the conditions. Rescue Team Leader Sergeant Dallas Atkinson said NSW Police have been kept busy as more people head outdoors for recreation, including bushwalking.

“National parks and bushland are natural, unpredictable environments, and the reality is that often people will get lost despite their best efforts. We don’t want outdoor adventures to end in tragedy, so we’re encouraging people to be prepared and ‘Think Before You Trek’.

“If you’re prepared, emergency services will be able to locate and rescue you. It’s always a good day for police when we can bring people safely home to their loved ones. It takes only a few simple steps to ensure you are prepared for the bush, and it can make the difference between life and death,” said Sgt Atkinson.

The ‘Think Before You Trek’ bush safety campaign encourages people heading into the bush and national parks to be well prepared for the conditions, with these simple steps:

  • Register your trip on the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) website. Fill in an online trip intention form.
  • Take enough water, food and first aid supplies
  • Keep to a planned route
  • Follow the map and walking trails and do not ignore warning signs and barriers
  • Tell family and/or friends when you expect to return
  • Install the free Emergency Plus app on a mobile or satellite phone
  • Install the free NSW National Parks app
  • Take a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), or satellite communication device, to use as a last resort

‘Think Before You TREK’ is a bush safety initiative between the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and NSW Police. For more information on how to be prepared, visit the NPWS website.

Images: Northern Beaches Advocate

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