RACQ CQ Rescue crew officer Ben McCauley spotted missing Yalboroo woman Barbara Marincic, 83, in the cane fields four days after she went missing. Photo: Zizi Averill
RACQ CQ Rescue crew officer Ben McCauley spotted missing Yalboroo woman Barbara Marincic, 83, in the cane fields four days after she went missing. Photo: Zizi Averill

Rescuers had given up hope of finding Yalboroo woman

A YALBOROO woman was found alive "caked in mud" more than three days after she went missing from her home.

Barbara Marincic, 83, had wandered away from her home early Friday morning, resulting in an extensive air, land and water search of nearby cane fields, bushland and rivers between Yalboroo and Pindi Pindi,.

The elderly woman was discovered lying in a cane field, only 2km away from her home.

While volunteers and emergency services were initially in "high spirits", RACQ CQ Rescue crew officer Ben McCauley said after 72-hours of searching there was little hope left.

He said his crew was expecting to bring home a body.

MISSING: Barbara Marincic, 83, went missing from a rural property on Tolchers Road at Yalboroo, northwest of Calen around 8.15am Friday morning. Picture: QPS.
MISSING: Barbara Marincic, 83, went missing from a rural property on Tolchers Road at Yalboroo, northwest of Calen around 8.15am Friday morning. Picture: QPS.

As the search entered the fourth day, Mr McCauley said the only source of optimism was a few reports from residents suggesting Ms Marincic was near the Bruce Highway.

From the air Mr McCauley said he spotted a "hole" in the cane, at 12.30pm on Monday.

As they landed the crews found Ms Marincic in a swampy gully between two cane fields.

"(She was) caked in mud, lying flat on her back, with her hand across her face and leg on a strange angle," Mr McCauley said.

"She wasn't moving at that stage. We were thinking the worst."

But as the rescuers approached Ms Marincic raised her arm and let out a groan.

This small movement filled the experienced rescuer with relief.

"She was moaning and tired and upset, but it was great to see her alive," he said.

"She was very resilient for an old lady."

Ms Marincic was scratched, bruised, tired and dehydrated, but otherwise emerged from her ordeal in the cane in good condition, he said.

Missing woman Barbara Marincic has been found by air rescue crews.
Missing woman Barbara Marincic has been found by air rescue crews.

With rescuers scouring a 15km radius, Mr McCauley said they would have passed right by her.

He said Ms Marincic was discovered within 100m of an area searched extensively by the helicopter crew on Sunday.

She was loaded on board the rescue helicopter and taken 70km south to Mackay Base Hospital at 1.45pm



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