Grazier finds trio after prayers

BIG FIND: Grazier Tom Wagner (right) found missing family Steven Van Lonkhuyzen and his two sons Ethan and Timothy in the Expedition National Park near Taroom on Sunday afternoon, after venturing out on his quad bike covering over 50km of the parkland.
BIG FIND: Grazier Tom Wagner (right) found missing family Steven Van Lonkhuyzen and his two sons Ethan and Timothy in the Expedition National Park near Taroom on Sunday afternoon, after venturing out on his quad bike covering over 50km of the parkland. Contributed

IT was after a church service on Sunday when grazier Tom Wagner decided to head out on his quad bike and search bushland to find missing man Steven Van Lonkhuyzen and his two sons.

The cattle farmer discovered the family, with no food, only water and their car severely bogged in Expedition National Park near Taroom at 3.30pm on Sunday.

Steven and his sons Ethan, 7, and Timothy, 5, disappeared after going on a road trip from their Lota home to Cairns, leaving on December 11.

Tom, a cattle farmer on Nuga Nuga station located 150km from Taroom said the link phone call church service was praying for the missing father and sons, which got Tom thinking.

"We went and looked it up and had a look at his car and where they were last seen, and I had a fair idea where and what road he'd go up," Tom said yesterday.

"When I went out there, there were tyre marks in places near our boundary but then some had been washed away with the rain so I went around the whole area on the quad. It took about three-and-a-half-hours, I rode probably 50km. I took extra fuel, and water."

But finally, Tom found the boys and their dad, who were hungry, but very happy to see him.

"It felt pretty good really, they were a bit weak and very skinny, but they seemed pretty happy to see me," he laughed.

"But they did the right thing by staying with the car."

Chocolate chip biscuits that Ruth, Tom's wife had packed, were the first thing the family had eaten in over a week.

"They were pretty thankful, the little fella just kept asking me afterwards, 'have you got some eggs', about six times I'd say," Tom laughed.

"But it made our Christmas, it was a happy conclusion instead of sad, because when I was it there, I didn't know what I was going to find."

The boys were recovering in a CQ hospital yesterday.

Topics:  grazier search

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