A relieved 20-year-old man who went missing while hiking in a national park hugged his mother and asked for a chicken parmigiana after being found.
Jack, whose surname has been withheld, went on a solo hike at Halls Gap, about 250km west of Melbourne, on Wednesday.
He sent a text and video to his mother from the top of the Pinnacle Point walking track in the Grampians National Park about 7.15pm before becoming uncontactable.
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Police officers later found Jack’s car at nearby School Rd.
His family was concerned because Jack, who has autism, was unprepared for the bad weather conditions forecast for late Wednesday.
The police air wing along with State Emergency Service volunteers helped with the search on Thursday.
Searchers have found a 20-year-old hiker who went missing in the Grampians National Park. Credit: AAP
Crews had to contend with rugged terrain, downed trees and slippery conditions after the overnight storm.
But Jack was soon found safe by a family passing by.
“He was happy to be found — he’d spent all night out there,” Senior Sergeant Brendan Khan said.
Jack was in good spirits and had consumed water, which helped him to survive.
He was not wearing shoes but one of the family members gave him a pair so he could walk out down the mountain.
Jack’s mother said he had scratches all over his arms and legs but had kept walking to save himself.
“He was just relieved, we had a hug — he’s a man of few words,” she said.
“He’s asked to go to the local hotel for a chicken parmigiana.”