Melbourne: An Australian man who was reported missing for two weeks and “covered in leeches” in a Malaysian jungle was rescued and said he survived by eating wild plants.
Andrew Gaskell, 25, went missing on October 18 while on a 2,376-meter solo hike to the summit of Mount Mulu, the second tallest mountain in the Malaysian state of Sarawak.
Gaskell, from the island state of Tasmania, was found by a Malaysian search team late Tuesday covered in leeches and visibly weak, Xinhua news agency reported.
“Obviously I’m starving, but apart from that I’m really happy to be alive,” Gaskell told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) from a Malaysian hospital on Wednesday.
“These last few days I picked up a few wild ferns from the jungle, aside from that I ate virtually nothing. I was getting weaker and weaker every day.
Gaskell said that a series of similar walking trails at the base of the mountain, an area famous for its complex cave system, caused him to become disoriented and lost.
“At the base (of the mountain) there’s a lot of parallel trails and creek crossings that make the track quite confusing,” he said.
“I ended up spending that whole night just wandering and really got myself badly disoriented.”