Desperate hunt launched for British teenager missing in searing heat of the Australian outback


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Desperate hunt launched for British teenager who is missing in the searing heat of the Australian outbackSam Woodhead, 18, was staying on cattle ranch in QueenslandThe teenager, from London, hasn't been seen since TuesdayPolice say they have grave fears for his safety as daytime temperatures soared to almost 40C

By
Richard Shears

PUBLISHED:

06:52 GMT, 14 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:52 GMT, 14 February 2013

Missing: Sam Woodhead, 18, from Richmond, south-west London, went for a run on Tuesday and hasn't been seen since

Missing: Sam Woodhead, 18, from Richmond, south-west London, went for a run on Tuesday and hasn't been seen since

A desperate search has been launched for a British teenager who is missing in the searing heat of the Australian outback.

Sam Woodhead, 18, from Richmond, south-west London, went for a run on Tuesday from the Queensland cattle ranch where he had been staying – and failed to return.

Police said today they held grave fears for his safety as daytime temperatures soared to almost 40C.

A huge
land and air search has been mounted but there has been no trace of the
teenager, described as a keen runner and fitness fanatic.

The alarm was raised on Wednesday morning when Mr Woodhead failed to return to he ranch during the night.

'The
owner of the property has gone to chase him out of bed because he
wasn't out of bed yet, police Sgt Dave Perry told Brisbane’s Courier
Mail.

Mr Woodhead was
staying at Upshot Station, a cattle ranch near the remote outback town
of Longreach, a community which Prince Charles and Camilla visited
briefly late last year.

The
teenager's backpack and running shoes were missing from his room, where
he had been staying for 10 days as part of his 'outback experience'.

But
other belongings, including his wallet, were still in his room. Police
said there had been nothing untoward that would have caused Mr Woodhead
to just 'take off'.

'He's really into fitness,' said Sgt
Perry. 'He jogged on a number of occasions. It's possible he may have
been jogging on this occasion and become disorientated.'

The
former Brighton College pupil's sister Rebecca has written on Facebook
about her concerns for her brother: 'Please, please, anyone contact me
if you hear ANYTHING.'

She wrote later: 'Thanks so much for all
your messages regarding Sam. Still no further news but we have the
helicopter going out again in the morning, and hundreds of people going
on a voluntary search party.'

Missing: Sam Woodhead, 18, from Richmond, south-west London, went for a run on Tuesday and hasn't been seen since

The
teenager's backpack and running shoes were missing from his room, where
he had been staying for 10 days as part of his 'outback experience'

(File picture) The British teenager went missing in the searing heat of the Australian outback

(File picture) The British teenager went missing in the searing heat of the Australian outback

She added: 'Would be a great birthday present if my brother would just turn up and ask what all the fuss is about.'

Mr Woodhead is a former student of Brighton College and was experiencing the outback as part of an Australian adventure.

There are concerns that Mr Woodhead might have come to grief in a confrontation with one of the outback most feared inhabitants – a taipan snake

Its poisonous bite, along with that of the eastern brown snake, can kill a human in less than an hour.

Anyone bitten is advised to place a restrictive bandage or cloth around the actual bite and keep the limb immobilised.

The victims, experts say, should by no means run for help and should wait for assistance. Running will only spread the poison faster – and waiting for more than an hour could also be fatal.

But it is not known if Mr Woodhead, raw from England, would be aware of this advice.