William McCarthy and Francisca Boterhoven De Haan emerged from Morton National Park looking drenched but relieved on Friday afternoon, after spending six nights lost in bushland.
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The pair set out on a three-day bushwalk at Ettrema Gorge, west of Nowra, on Saturday and when they failed to return on Tuesday, friends raised the alarm with police.
A search began on Wednesday afternoon using resources from South Coast Police District, PolAir, the Westpac and NSW Ambulance rescue helicopters, and the NSW State Emergency Service.
Just after 2pm on Friday, Mr McCarthy, of Canberra, and Ms Boterhoven De Haan, of Wollongong, finally returned to safety.
Their location was identified late Thursday afternoon after the couple made an emergency phone call to police.
But due to deteriorating weather conditions, a decision was made to suspend the retrieval operation until first light on Friday.
The hikers were advised to stay put under shelter and wait out the storms.
About 11am Friday, a crew of 12 SES members found the pair about 4km from the park entrance and escorted them back to safety as the rain bucketed down over the national park.
Mr McCarthy and Ms Boterhoven De Haan were understandably exhausted and bruised when they returned to the staging area, but in good health otherwise.
South Coast Police District inspector Deb O’Reilly said Mr McCarthy and Ms Boterhoven De Haan were in “remarkably good physical condition” following the rescue.
“Ms Boterhoven De Haan had a black eye after she had a fall from slipping on a rock,” she said.
“But they both had sufficient food and water and were in very good spirits.”
The pair were examined on scene by paramedics before they went home with their families.
“They were checked off for dehydration, blood pressure and cognitively the paramedics were satisfied,” Inspector O’Reilly said.
“The family was very happy. It was a good ending.”
Ms Boterhoven De Haan's son, Shannon Rogers, told The Canberra Times he was relieved she and Mr McCarthy had been found.
"We're feeling really good that they're found safe and sound," Mr Rogers said.
"The whole family's with me and we're going out to see her now."
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