Missing prospector found near Marble Bar

Missing prospector Brian Kane has been located by Western Australian police at a property near Marble Bar.

Police became concerned when Kane failed to return home on his scheduled arrival time on Tuesday, February 26.

Kane was located at a Pilbara pastoral property on Wednesday night, with no safety concerns.

In recent years there has been a trend in prospectors going missing during the summer months, a very dangerous time for people travelling through harsh environments to lose communication with support services.

WA Police constable and search co-ordinator Dave Tinlin said the alarm was raised on Tuesday by Kane’s wife.

Tinlin told Australian Mining that Kane had planned on prospecting in the area of Corunna Downs road, near the abandoned Copenhagen minesite, as recent bushfires in the area had cleared the area.

However, Kane chose to travel a different direction from what he had reported to his wife, abandoned his original plans, and ended up getting his vehicle bogged in a creekbed near Pelican Pool.

Unable to dig the vehicle out, Kane climbed a hill and used a handheld UHF radio to contact a passing truck and notify the driver of his situation, who then relayed the message back to Marble Bar police.

“Unfortunately it got passed through the other truckies like chinese whispers, and by the time we got the message it said Mr Kane was near ‘Elephant Pool’, which wasn’t helpful as there isn’t one in that area,” Tinlin said.

“If we’d been given the correct information we wouldn’t have had a full scale land search.”

A plane with a trained air observer from the local SES unit was sent from Port Hedland to search the area, but after an hour of searching they lost daylight and returned to base.

“The next day Mr Kane waited until the sting had gone out of the sun before he left the vehicle to walk to the nearby Meentheena Station,” Tinlin said.

Constable Tinlin pointed out that Marble Bar police did not criticise Mr Kane for leaving his vehicle.

“He knew the area very well, he was never lost… Mr Kane is quite an extreme sort of bushman, and having worked at the station before he knew it was a 14km walk and that there were people there,” Tinlin said.

“Mr Kane thanked us, but he was a bit sheepish and realised he should have stuck to the plan.”

WA Police would like to reiterate to travellers not to leave their vehicle if lost, to keep to the travel plans they report to others, and to carry an EPIRB to prevent the need for full scale search efforts.

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