Lost Mount Mee man found a 38km walk away
AT FIRST, Archie Fleming thought the man sitting in the gutter at Beerburrum was simply homeless and in need of a bath.
But when he asked him if he was all right, he began to realise there was much more to the story.
It still took a while for Mr Fleming to realise he was talking to Raymond Westrop, who had been missing from Mount Mee for almost a week.
Mr Westrop was last seen at his home about 10pm last Wednesday and was the focus of an extensive search by police and emergency services.
A blanket, jumper, camera and cooking pan believed to belong to him were found in a creek about 400m from his home this week.
Police scaled back the search for him on Tuesday, just hours before the experienced bushman resurfaced in Beerburrum.
"We heard the dogs barking just before six o'clock in the morning and my wife looked out and saw this bloke sitting in the gutter across the road," Mr Fleming said.
"He looked like a homeless man and I could tell he wasn't in good shape.
"I went over and said 'are you okay?' and he said he was feeling crook.
"I asked him if he wanted the police or an ambulance and he said 'yeah, an ambulance'.
"Then he told me he hadn't eaten for six days; that he came from a mental health place in Caboolture and they were looking for him.
"He was rambling a bit but he gave me his name so I rang the police first and they called the ambulance for him."
He said his Cobb and Co Dr home was a long way from where 56-year-old Mr Westrop was last seen at Mount Mee and he could only imagine he had spent the six days wandering through rugged bushland.
"There's only bush and pine forest between here and there (Mount Mee)," he said.
"It's the only way I can imagine he would have come and he looked like a bloke who'd been in the bush for a while.
"He was wearing tracksuit pants and some sort of jacket and it looked like he'd fallen over a few times.
"He had a few cuts and bruises but no serious injuries that I could see."
He said Mr Westrop was "pretty vague" about where he had been for the week.
"He could hardly walk across the street.
"He was very hungry, so we gave him coffee and biscuits while we waited for the police and ambulance."