Elderly SA farmer missing in Botswana

2011-10-07 10:34
Mbombela - A farmer from Badfontein outside Lydenburg has been missing for three weeks in the Chobe National Park in Botswana after he went looking for help when his Land Rover got stuck in sand.

Search teams in Botswana have been searching for John Bullen, 80, after he left his wife Lorraine, 78, in the vehicle on September 14 and went looking for help with an axe, some water, a bag of food and a GPS.

“We hope and pray that they will find something of his somewhere, even if it is his remains, because it is terrible not knowing,” said his daughter-in-law, Estelle Bullen.

Lorraine spent five days in the Land Rover before Dutch tourists, who had also gotten lost, found her.

Short cut

Botswana police spokesperson assistant superintendent Christopher Mbalawa confirmed that the search for Bullen was continuing.

The Bullens left for a 10-day holiday in Botswana on September 11.

On September 13 they went to the Chobe National Park where they were to spend the night at the Savuti camp.

On the way they decided to go to another camp where they had spent a night years ago.

When they got there, the camp was locked up. Local people advised the couple to drive on a certain road, which was a short cut to the next camp.

“They drove off and at a stage my mother-in-law said the road was going nowhere and they should turn around. That was when they got stuck in the sand of a dry riverbed,” said her daughter-in-law.

“They tried to get out but nothing worked and no one came by to help them.

“The next day in the afternoon [on Wednesday] he decided to look for help.”

Last 500ml of water

“He told my mother if they stayed there, they would both die because no one had found them. It almost happened.”

She said her mother-in-law remained in the vehicle.

When the Dutch tourists - who also took the local people’s advice at the camp - found Bullen on Monday afternoon, she was on her last 500ml bottle of water.

The tourists pulled the Land Rover out of the sand and took her to a nearby military base.

Search teams from Botswana’s army, police, anti-poaching unit and nature conservation launched foot patrols and a search from the air.
Read more on:    mbombela  |  botswana  |  search and rescue  |  southern africa

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