SYDNEY: Stranded by floods and lost, a German backpacker survived for around two weeks in Australia’s inhospitable Outback on a diet of insects, police said on Friday.
Daniel Dudzisz, 26, went missing in February southwest of Longreach in remote Queensland as he reportedly tried to walk solo more than halfway across Australia.
Police said a motorist picked up the bedraggled tourist on Thursday near Cooper Creek outside the town of Windorah.
Dudzisz—who is diabetic and insulin-dependent—told police he waded through floodwaters and ate flies to survive his ordeal in the vast and wild Outback.
“If you hadn’t heard it with your own ears—and my officers have—you certainly wouldn’t believe it,” Insp. Mark Henderson told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
“He joked about never going hungry in the Australian Outback because of the amount of flies you can eat for their protein apparently.”
The German had been walking through New South Wales and Queensland states for several months and kept in regular contact with police.
But when he set off from Windorah on February 17 heading to Jundah, about 90 kilometers away, he lost his way and became stranded between two flooded areas of the Barcoo River.
“He had some baked beans and cereal when he left Windorah and exhausted that pretty quickly, and said he’d been eating flies ever since,” Henderson added.
Aerial and ground searches were launched when the tourist failed to reach Jundah.
Dudzisz spurned medical treatment when he returned to Windorah.
The German told police he was determined to continue his journey to Australia’s Northern Territory and was last seen heading beyond the remote town of Mt Isa to cross the state border.
The Brisbane Times reported that he planned to walk 4,000 kilometers from New South Wales to Uluru—Ayer’s Rock—in the heart of Australia.
In a February 6 interview with the southwest Queensland weekly Warrego Watchman, Dudzisz admitted his walk was “quite hardcore.”
But he said he could handle it after being homeless for two years.
“What I enjoy about the walking most is just how much closer nature feels . . . And all the little unexpected encounters and adventures that tend to accumulate along such a journey.”