CHOPPERED OFF: Michael Sheldon spent a night on Mt Cooroora in Pomona until he was found by emergency crews and winched to safety.
CHOPPERED OFF: Michael Sheldon spent a night on Mt Cooroora in Pomona until he was found by emergency crews and winched to safety.

Tough night on Mount Cooroora for injured bush walker

WHEN Michael Sheldon twisted his ankle during an afternoon bushwalk, he knew he had just two choices.

He could try hobbling home in the dark or accept the fact he was stuck for the night.

Then he looked at the steep drop down the side of Mount Cooroora and knew he wouldn't be home for dinner.

In fact, he was lucky he wasn't already lying on rocks 500m below his precarious vantage point near the top of the mountain.

"It would have been disastrous to try and get home," the 68-year-old Pomona man said as he recovered from his ordeal yesterday.

"I was on my usual track along a lovely ledge but there was a bit of rain damage to the outside of the track and I twisted my ankle on it.

"I was near the top of the mountain and there was a steep drop but I was able to put my weight on my right leg and twisted back, so I didn't go over the edge.

"It was getting dark and I knew I wasn't going anywhere in a hurry.

"Backtracking with my ankle the way it was would have been too tricky."

Mr Sheldon's friend, who was expecting him home for dinner, raised the alarm soon after dark but rescuers couldn't do much until the next morning.

He spent the night huddled on the ledge, wearing just a t-shirt and long pants.

"Then it started to drizzle but being a Pom who comes from somewhere the nights can be minus 23, I was quite okay," the retired electronics engineer said.

"I did a bit of meditation and I was okay."

By 11am, the Sunshine Coast RACQ CareFlight Rescue helicopter had joined the search and found Mr Sheldon perched on the ledge on the mountain's north face.

He was winched out and taken to hospital but allowed home soon afterwards.

"A lovely bloke was winched down to get me and they took me to hospital but they said I was pretty fit for an old fart and sent me home," Mr Sheldon said.

As he relaxed with a glass of Guinness last night, he said the misadventure hadn't cooled his passion for hiking up the mountain.

"When you're 68, you can't just curl up and fade away.

"If I wasn't having a sup on a sup of Guinness, I would have gone back up by now.

"The mountain's always calling me and it won't stop."

Gympie Times


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