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Hiker lost in Australian mountains found

Richard Cass with his son, Jamie Neale, 19, who was lost in Australia’s Blue Mountains for 12 days. Richard Cass with his son, Jamie Neale, 19, who was lost in Australia’s Blue Mountains for 12 days. (Dean Lewins/ Associated Press via AAP)
Associated Press / July 16, 2009
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SYDNEY - A British teenager lost for 12 days while hiking in Australia’s Blue Mountains was found alive and well yesterday, just hours before his father - who had all but given up hope of ever seeing him again - planned to fly back to England.

Two other hikers happened upon 19-year-old Jamie Neale yesterday morning in the mountains, 60 miles west of Sydney, New South Wales State Police said. Neale, an experienced hiker, was taken to a hospital in the mountain town of Katoomba for treatment of dehydration and exposure, police said.

Neale’s father, Richard Cass, who had traveled to Australia to help search for his son, was at the airport waiting to board his flight when he got an urgent text message from police.

“It said, ‘Phone me, I’ve got good news.’ The words ‘good news’ told me everything. That was when I knew he was safe. I didn’t actually turn cartwheels until I’d phoned him and spoke to him,’’ Cass told reporters.

Neale, who arrived in Australia for vacation June 22, checked into a hostel July 2 and was last seen the following day.