Police helicopter used to find and recover hiker who died at Mt Toolbrunup

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
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SES volunteers leave the search area on Sunday evening.
Camera IconSES volunteers leave the search area on Sunday evening. Credit: Liam Croy/Albany Advertiser

The circumstances surrounding the death of Perth man Muhammad Ferdiansah remain under investigation after a delicate retrieval operation near the summit of Mt Toolbrunup.

On Sunday, a land and air search was launched for Mr Ferdiansah whose vehicle was found abandoned in the Stirling Range National Park.

The search involved SES volunteers, a police helicopter, drones and staff from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

About 5pm on Sunday, his body was found by the police helicopter on the western side of Mt Toolbrunup, however, strong winds forced the retrieval to be suspended overnight.

The WA Police helicopter near Mt Toolbrunup on Sunday.
Camera IconThe WA Police helicopter near Mt Toolbrunup on Sunday. Credit: Liam Croy/Albany Advertiser

On Monday morning, a police helicopter lowered recovery personnel down to the area, which was too difficult to reach on foot, to retrieve his body.

Great Southern police Acting Inspector Hugh Letessier said a report was being prepared for the coroner.

“He was an inexperienced hiker and the cause of his death is undetermined at this stage,” Acting Insp. Letessier said.

“It’s a little bit of a mystery at this stage, we don’t know why he was up there and what his intentions were.

“He hiked to what we think was close to the top, on the side away from the car park and we would say he’s away from the normal path hikers would take on Mt Toolbrunup.

The road to Mt Toolbrunup.
Camera IconThe road to Mt Toolbrunup. Credit: Liam Croy/Albany Advertiser

“There will be an ongoing investigation on behalf of the coroner.”

Great Southern police had “urgent welfare concerns” for Mr Ferdiansah after his vehicle was found in the Mt Toolbrunup car park on Saturday.

Acting Insp. Letessier said the land and air search was launched at 7am on Sunday.

“We commenced some investigations on late Saturday afternoon and evening and that escalated to a full search on Sunday,” he said.

Mt Toolbrunup (1052m) is the second-highest peak in the Stirling Range.

Trails WA classes the 4km return hike to the summit as a grade 5 walk — a higher degree of difficulty than Bluff Knoll.

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