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[at-l] 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness!


Missing American tourist found alive in Australian desert

Bogucki, right, speaks with a rescuer after spending 40 days lost in the desert

CNN's Michael Holmes reports on what the rescued man said of his ordeal
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August 23, 1999
Web posted at: 10:50 a.m. EDT (1450 GMT)

PERTH, Australia (AP) -- An American tourist was found alive early Monday after surviving for 40 days in one of Australia's most inhospitable regions.
Robert Bogucki, 33, a volunteer fireman from Fairbanks, Alaska, was spotted in a dry creek bed in the Great Sandy Desert by searchers in a helicopter and was transferred to a hospital in Broome, 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) north of Perth, Western Australia's state capital.
Wayne Waller, a television reporter aboard the helicopter, said Bogucki was "very, very happy to be found."
"He was just bewildered. He's tired, he just wants to go home."
Waller said Bogucki lost about 20 kilograms (44 pounds) during his one-man odyssey.
"He's been drinking very muddy water and just staying alive really by the skin of his teeth," Waller told Perth radio station 6PR.
Further details of Bogucki's condition were not immediately available, but an Australian Broadcasting Corp. reporter at the scene said Bogucki walked unassisted from the helicopter which plucked him out of the desert to a waiting ambulance at Broome airport.
Sporting a full beard, long khaki pants and a T-shirt, he appeared to have some trouble getting up into the ambulance but otherwise looked in relatively good health, the ABC reporter said.
Police have had great trouble finding the Alaskan, leading them to speculate he may not have wanted to be found. He was last seen 40 days ago before heading into the desert.
A search was launched by Australian authorities after Bogucki's bike and camping equipment were found on a track at the edge of the Great Sandy Desert on July 26.
He was finally spotted in the Edgar Ranges, 180 kilometers (110 miles) southeast of Broome. Local volunteers and Aboriginal trackers helped in the hunt.
Bogucki reportedly told his American girlfriend Janet North that he intended to find "spiritual enlightenment" in the desert. He was believed to have walked more than 400 kilometers (250 miles), sometimes barefoot, during his ordeal.
Local police abandoned their search earlier this month, but it was revived last week with the arrival of a specialist American search team.
The eight-member 1st Special Response Group based in Miami, Florida, set out Thursday using three sniffer dogs to look for Bogucki.