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GUEST POST: Lost, hospitalised and then found in Sydney

May 18th, 2018 | | industry

All too often we hear the bad news stories about our backpacker friends as they work, travel and explore Australia. Of course the vast majority of what is going on out there is young people enjoying our wonderful country in safety and security. When things do go wrong it is good to know that Australian organisations and authorities are here to support them.

Visitoz/Australian Working Adventures is a small family company based in south-east Queensland specialising in training backpackers for rural/outback work and then arranging work for them. When one of their customers, Asterix (not his real name, to spare him further blushes), a 20-year-old young man from Belgium went missing, they were able to recruit the assistance of a number of friends, industry contacts and the authorities to track him down and quickly reassure worried parents at home.

Asterix had simply disappeared off the radar. Neither his parents nor anyone else had heard from him for over three weeks and all that could be discovered was the he had been briefly admitted to the emergency department of a Sydney hospital. He was off email, off social media and not reachable by phone. As you can imagine this was very worrying for his parents back home in Belgium, particularly as they did not speak much English and could do little to find him from so far away. They contacted the Visitoz team.

Within 12 hours of raising their concern the team at Visitoz had posted on numerous social media channels, into the networks of backpacker and adventure travel providers and the Sydney hostels. Soon after that, they filed a missing person report with the Sydney police. Messages of support flowed in from all directions and within 12 hours of filing the missing person’s report, Sydney police had identified the hostel where Asterix was staying. They sent an officer to check and so all ended well.

Asterix had just dropped off line. His phone was broken, so without this method of communication and with limited funds he had found it difficult to make contact with home. Reliable communication methods to young travellers here in Australia are at a premium. Secondly, it reminds us all how lucky we are to live in a country with sophisticated, organised community safety and emergency services, as well as a networked industry that can rally fast to offer support. Needless to say this is a key strength of Australian Youth Tourism.

Visitoz/Australian Working Adventures would like to thank the Sydney Police and all the other friends and companies who offered support and advice during this time.

Written by Will Taunton-Burnett, General Manager/Director