Incredible moment missing woman found by rescuers

AN incredible photo has captured the moment a police diver carried a woman out of thick bushland after she was missing for five days.

Yang Chen, 26, had disappeared while bushwalking with a friend in Tallebudgera Valley last Wednesday, with torrential rain forcing searches to be called off several times for safety concerns.

The picture shows an elated group of people, none more so than Ms Chen, who rescuers feared had been caught in floodwaters and washed away.

 

The Gold Coast search and rescue team with missing Chinese tourist Yang Chen who had been missing for five days near Gorge Falls Tallebudgera. Picture: QPS.
The Gold Coast search and rescue team with missing Chinese tourist Yang Chen who had been missing for five days near Gorge Falls Tallebudgera. Picture: QPS.

 

Ms Chen was found this morning sitting on a ledge about 30 metres up a 60 metre cliff which was barely visible from the ground. She had been sleeping inside a plastic bag.

She had not eaten in five nights - save from trying to a berry that she spat out after not liking the taste - and survived merely on water.

From her hospital bed yesterday, Ms Chen told officers she had been separated from her friend after trying to scale rocks to visit a waterfall on Wednesday as thunderstorms lashed the Coast.

"She was with her friend and he can climb quicker than her. She wasn't left behind, but lost sight of him and got a bit tired and tried to go back down," Sergeant Mitch Gray from Gold Coast Water Police said.

 

Gold Coast Chinese tourist Yang Chen in hospital Monday.
Gold Coast Chinese tourist Yang Chen in hospital Monday.

 

"She's gone back to where she thought they started the climb up, she's gone the wrong way and rested to recover and then gone the wrong way again and it's just snowballed from there.

"From what we can see, she's been mobile the whole time. Every day she has moved and relocated somewhere, which is difficult for us.

"In any case she saw the helicopters fly over, but was in dense rainforest and knew that she could see them, but they couldn't see her.

"She said that she tried to get to some high ground on Sunday, so she got to some higher ground, but couldn't get to a clearing.

"She was on the way back down again and ended up in the cliff and wrapped herself in a banana leaf and stuff to keep warm."

A banana which was used by Ms Chen during her ordeal. Picture: Jerad Williams
A banana which was used by Ms Chen during her ordeal. Picture: Jerad Williams

Before she was found on that cliff face, there were fears that police would be looking for her body.

"To be honest I had knots in my stomach - I really did," Sgt Gray said.

"You know at the end of these protracted search and rescues on the last day or two you start becoming really quite nervous that you are not going to find the person.

"You start questioning the decisions you have made and I think having a win is nice for everyone that has been involved, especially our divers - they have done a great job today.

"To be honest we did bring them in because we did think there was a chance she had ended up in the waterways.

 

The ledge where Ms Chen was located. Picture: QPS.
The ledge where Ms Chen was located. Picture: QPS.

 

 

"We were looking at the end of the search time and I had that unfortunate feeling in my stomach that we were not going to find her alive. To get that news, from police to volunteers, is amazing and it makes it all worthwhile in the end.

"There is no doubt our police dive squad definitely risked their lives today to scale that cliff face. There was no trail there. What they did to get her out there was nothing short of amazing. They did a great job."

Sgt Gray said Ms Chen tried to eat a berry, but couldn't stomach it.

"She tried a berry, but said it was gross and spat it out, so she just drank water," he said.

"She is being rehydrated by the hospital and fed, she has lost a fair bit of weight, as you would expect after five days of no food.

 

 

Ms Chen arrives at Robina Hospital after she was found five days after going missing. Picture: 9 News
Ms Chen arrives at Robina Hospital after she was found five days after going missing. Picture: 9 News

"It is a miracle, we plan for what we do and we train for it, but at the end of the day, you've got to have a bit of luck.

"And she knew she had helicopters looking for her, that actually gives you the energy to keep going, it gives you that will to live, knowing that people are still looking for you.

"She's over the moon that we didn't give up and that we kept looking for her."


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