WE DIDN’T LOSE HOPE: The moment politician found missing man
Member for Gympie Tony Perrett was in "the right place at the right time" when he and wife Michele drove over a crest in to find missing man Robert Weber waving frantically at them.
After losing his way home from the Kilkivan Hotel on January 6, Mr Weber's car became bogged in a very remote part of Mr and Mrs Perrett's Kilkivan property.
"Our musterers were out mustering a paddock at the back end of the property, which is about 15 000 acres, and they found the vehicle wedged in some rocks," Mr Perrett said.
Mr Perrett immediately alerted police to the vehicle, who alongside SES personnel and the Lifeflight Helicopter, launched a widespread search of the land.
With hopes of finding Mr Weber dwindling, emergency service eventually called off the search, but the Perrett's refused to give up on the missing man.
"We just kept going in the hope that we'd find him, searching all the water points on the property, and of course we did find him," Mr Perret said.
"Yesterday morning my wife and I set off early to search a paddock which was adjacent to the paddock where his car was found. We'd searched all the water points in there and went to a couple of spots we hadn't been to previously.
"We then we drove out of that particular paddock into the next one through a small set of stock yards. We went over this small crest and as we drove towards the dam, there we saw what turned out to be Robert frantically waving at us."
Transporting Mr Weber eight kilometres back to their home on the property, Mr and Mrs Perrett supplied Mr Weber with food and fresh water as they waited for the ambulance to arrive.
"We went down and sat down with him and I said 'geez Robert, you've been the hardest man to find this last week. We've been looking everywhere for you but thank goodness we found you'," Mr Perrett said.
"It was just an emotional period. We hadn't given up hope, we were still looking, but every day that went by was just less likely that we were going to be able to find him in a good state."
Missing for an incredible 18 days, Mr Weber told his rescuers how he'd survived by drinking water from dams on the property and scavenging wild mushrooms.
"We were just determined to keep looking on the off chance that he did get one of these water points, because the last thing we would have wanted was for him not to be found, or worse still, for him to be deceased if we didn't find him."