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Police tightlipped on initial Holding find -

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Police tightlipped on initial Holding find

Broadcast: 01/09/2009

Reporter: Rafael Epstein

Victoria Police are refusing to identify the plane that first spotted missing Cabinet Minister Tim
Holding. Mr Holding is now safely in hospital, after he fell 100 metres from the path he was on and
spent more than two days lost in Victoria's high country.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Victorian Cabinet Minister Tim Holding is safely in hospital tonight after
spending 48 freezing hours missing in the state's alpine region.

He told rescuers that while hiking on Mount Feathertop he slipped and fell about a hundred metres
from the track. He then stayed put and waited to be rescued. He was spotted from the air this
morning and winched to safety. Rafael Epstein reports.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN, REPORTER: Two nights alone in Victoria's high country at temperatures below zero.

STEVE GROVE, AMBULANCE VICTORIA: On Sunday morning, he had a fall, which that's sort of taken him
off the track, and that has led to him being lost, so hence that's when the sort of - the adventure
started for him.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: Knowing he had to get below the snowline, Tim Holding had built a shelter for
himself out of branches.

ELLEN WHINNETT, GIRLFRIEND: He could the - I guess see you guys in your news choppers and you
weren't near where he was, and so he was getting a bit disheartened by that. But when that chopper
came overhead, he was very happy to see that.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: He was lifted to safety after a media chopper spotted him first at around 10 this

ELLEN WHINNETT: I was very glad to see him get off the helicopter. He's really cold, he's got a few
scratches and bruises, he's a bit disorientated, but he's fine.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: Last night, a plane spotted Mr Holding because he was wearing a headlamp given to
him by his girlfriend for his birthday. Police refused to discuss the plane or the technology used
to find him. Tim Holding was only saying what he won't be doing.

TIM HOLDING, VICTORIAN TOURISM AND WATER MINISTER: I'm not going hiking, that's for sure.

KEIRAN WALSHE, VICTORIA POLICE: The fact that he was well equipped, the fact that he did have the
right equipment with him, his fitness, etc., we were confident we'd get him. But, yes, there is an
element of luck because the conditions out there were very, very poor.

CAROL HOLDING, MUM: But this has probably been something that he'll never forget either.

JOURNALIST: Will you make him take a friend next time?

BRUCE HOLDING, FATHER: I don't think it's up to us to make him do anything. Tim's his own person,
as you people should know. He'll continue to walk, I'm sure, 'cause it's a passion that he loves.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: Few are willing to criticise the former police minister for attempting the walk

KEIRAN WALSHE: I'm not saying that there's been any irresponsibility whatsoever. He was on his own,
but that's a matter for him, and I'm not going to get into that debate.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: But the man who flew him to Melbourne pointed out what could have made a
difference: an EPIRB - it's an emergency radio beacon that broadcasts your location to searchers.

STEVE GROVE: Be as prepared as Tim Holding and carry an EPIRB. If he had of had an EPIRB, and
they're probably a $550, $600 item, he would have been retrieved on Sunday afternoon.

ELLEN WHINNETT: It's no fun. It's been a rough couple of days, it really has. We thought he would
come out, we really did, because he is, as we said, he is the strongest person we know. But when it
was raining heavily last night, I was really worried for him.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: He's expected to leave hospital tomorrow.

Rafael Epstein, Lateline.