A man who miraculously survived almost three weeks lost in the bush has relived his harrowing ordeal and the decision that almost cost him his life.
Robert Weber, 58, was last seen leaving the Kilkivan Hotel Motel in Queensland in a white 2000 model Ford Falcon on January 6 with his dog Sid.
After his car became bogged in mud, Mr Weber stayed with his car for three days before a split decision to abandon his vehicle to go on a desperate search for water.
He survived on wild mushrooms for 18 days before he was finally found near a dam on a remote property near Kilkivan, west of Gympie on Sunday.
Mr Weber opened up about his ordeal hours after being released from hospital, where he admitted ditching his car almost proved to be a fatal mistake after becoming lost.
‘I made a split decision of error and paid 18 days for it,’ Mr Weber told Seven News with laugh.
Robert Weber, 58, spent 18 days on near a dam on a rural property before he was eventually found on Sunday morning. Pictured is a relieved but exhausted Mr Weber after he was found
There was only one priority on his mind when he made the near fatal decision to abandon his car and dog Sid, who refused to budge.
‘Water, Full stop. Need water,’ Mr Weber said.
‘The first day I left it was drizzling and the dog was sleeping in the driver side. Sid was just looking, “nah I’m not coming”. So I thought, “all right, you stay, I’ll come back with some water”.
‘I had a two litre juice bottle and I never ever made it back. I could never find my way back.’
Mr Weber’s abandoned car discovered by investigators on January 15, 10 days before he was found less than 3km away.
A relieved Mr Weber never lost hope that he would be eventually found.
Robert Weber (pictured) became lost while searching for water west of Gympie and leaving his car behind
‘I never had my doubts. Full stop. But there were disappointing times when the search happened and I got missed out by the boundary of it,’ he said.
‘I was looking at the pilot in the eyes and I’m going ‘come on, mate, what are you doing? You’re going backwards.’
‘I was waiting for the search. After three days, it turned to seven days when I heard the first helicopter.’
He spent 18 days seeking shelter under a tree near a dam surviving on wild mushrooms on the rural property of local MP Tony Perrett.
Robert Weber admitted to paying the price of abandoning his car in search for water
Mr Weber was last seen leaving a hotel in Kilkvian, Queensland, eastern Australia
The local MP finally found Mr Weber on Sunday morning, three days after the widespread search by emergency services was called of.
Mr Weber was ‘almost excessively happy’ to see help had arrived.
‘Tony, the MP, just rolled up, checking the dam, and here I was standing there going “hello, how are you? Sorry I trespassed”,’ Mr Weber recalled.
‘He said, “Hello, we’ve been looking for you.”
‘I replied “I’m glad to hear.”
‘It’s hard to describe when your life turns from almost misery at times to unfound.’
Mr Weber was conveyed to hospital suffering exposure to the elements but was otherwise safe and well.
Emergency services spent almost three weeks searching for Robert Weber before calling off the search operation (pictured) last Thursday, three days before he was found
Mr Perrett described the tale of survival as incredible.
‘We’d searched this one paddock previously, but there were a few spots we hadn’t looked… we didn’t see him,’ Mr Perrett told NCA NewsWire.
‘As we were driving out of the paddock through a small set of stock yards, about 100m away is a dam … We came up over the crest of this small ridge beside the yards and looked down towards the dam and there he was.
‘Under a tree, adjacent to the dam, frantically waving.’
Sadly Mr Weber’s constant companion Sid remains missing.
Mr Weber’s abandoned car, a white 2000 model Ford Falcon (pictured) was found on January 15. It would be another 10 days before he was found