Harold Parkhurst
Harold Parkhurst

Family thanks Rainbow Beach community after desperate search

A Rainbow Beach resident would like to thank the community and police for rallying together to find her elderly father, who went missing last Friday afternoon.

Jennifer Parkhurst realised her father Harold Parkhurst, 85, was missing from a Double Island Drive home around 4:30pm when she arrived to pick him up.

"I spent an hour driving around Rainbow Beach but I couldn't find him," she said.

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It was dark and raining when Ms Parkhurst called the police, who immediately began searching on foot to cover as much ground as possible.

Ms Parkhurst was extremely worried for the wellbeing of her father who is vision impaired, and while waiting at home in case he returned, she posted on Facebook group Word's Out Rainbow Beach asking if anyone had seen him.

Ms Parkhurst said someone commented that an elderly man with a cane had been spotted near Cypress Avenue, and soon several residents were out looking.

Jennifer Parkhurst’s father Harold, who is vision impaired, was missing for five hours last Friday night during heavy rain.
Jennifer Parkhurst’s father Harold, who is vision impaired, was missing for five hours last Friday night during heavy rain.

"It was an absolutely wonderful response from the community, dropping everything on a Friday night at dinner time to go out and search."

Friend of Ms Parkhurst and Gympie Times reporter Arthur Gorrie was part of the search from the beginning, and said the police and residents were a great help, with one lady even driving from Tin Can Bay to search.

"It was an incredible effort from the community," he said.

Mr Parkhurst was eventually found around 9:30pm on a dirt track at the end of Cypress Avenue.

Mr Parkhurst was found a long way from home, after walking from Double Island Drive, down Cypress Avenue, and deep into a dirt track surrounded by swamp.
Mr Parkhurst was found a long way from home, after walking from Double Island Drive, down Cypress Avenue, and deep into a dirt track surrounded by swamp.

"He was soaking wet and a bit sore from falling over but other than that he was okay," Mr Gorrie said.

"He walked down Double Island Drive, across the road, all the way along Cypress, and then a very long way along that white dirt track, turned left, and crossed a swampy bit," Ms Parkhurst said.

"If it hadn't been for the community, he might not have come home that night, I don't know that he would have survived.

"I thought he'd be traumatised but he managed to keep his head and was relieved to be home."

Gympie Times


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