Mum REFUSES to leave Australian tropical island where son Ben Chisholm now missing for 15 days
A desperate Australian mother has refused to leave the tropical island where her son went missing more than two weeks ago after he behaved erratically.
Jackie Burgess remains on Magnetic Island with her daughter Shiralee Rosario in hopes that her son, Ben Chisholm, 22, will be found, even though police have scaled back their search.
He went missing in rugged bushland on the famous resort island, off the coast of Townsville, north Queensland, on the morning of 13 July.
His family described his disappearance as “out of character” and said he would never wander that long.
But while his terrified mother and sister refuse to give up, it’s revealed that Mr. Chisholm was arrested by the police the night before he disappeared.
Young Queenslander Ben Chisholm wandered in ‘extremely dense undergrowth’ on Magnetic Island 15 days ago after acting erratic the night before his disappearance
Jackie Burgess (pictured front right) stays on Magnetic Island with her daughter Shiralee Rosario, hoping that her son, Ben Chisholm, (kneeling, next to family and friends), will be found
Mr Chisholm was last seen walking to the trails inland from the Arcadia area of Magnetic Island (shown, steep cliffs at Picnic Point, Magnetic Island)
SES volunteers have spent up to 80 hours each searching for Ben Chisholm in the past 10 days
‘We’re not giving up hope, Mama isn’t leaving the island, she needs you to be found and brought home. We all want you to come home, Mrs Rosario wrote on Tuesday.
“We won’t give you up Ben!”
Mrs Rosario and Mr Chisholm both live on Magnetic Island and their mother is from Melbourne.
Mr. Chisholm was last seen walking from the Arcadia area of Magnetic Island to the trails inland.
Rosario has admitted that her brother exhibited “unstable” behavior the night before he went missing.
Shiralee Rosario is pictured with her brother Ben Chisholm, who is missing on Magnetic Island
Police, SES, National Fire Service and Parks and Wildlife teams are looking for Mr Chisholm, with his family fearing he may have fallen into the dense bushland
She said residents in Picnic Bay called police because he “knocked on a random house,” the Townsville Bulletin reported.
Officers ‘didn’t pick up’ his poor mental condition and dropped him off at home. He went missing the next morning and was last seen wandering for trails.
“We’ll take it along as we go, and if there are lessons to be learned, well, there are lessons to be learned,” Acting Queensland Police Commissioner Mark Camilleri said when asked about Ms Rosario’s claims.
On a Magnetic Island community Facebook page, several community members questioned whether Mr Chisholm had left the island before being reported missing.
But several clues found put an end to that possibility.
Clothing, including a dark green jacket/pullover and shorts, and a hat belonging to Mr Chisholm, were found over the next eight days.
His desperate family fears he “may have slipped and can’t get up.”
Police officers, the dog brigade and SES search teams searched the forest area, including the Nelly-Arcadia forest trail on foot, with a QGAir Rescue 521 helicopter and with drone cameras.
National fire and park and wildlife teams also assist police in searches.
But when Acting Inspector Camilleri admitted the search was now being “phased out,” Ms. Rosario begged for more volunteers to join the search.
‘SOS we are calling on all trained staff available to assist with specialized searches such as rock faces and boulders with fissures and caves.
‘[We’ve had] no helicopter since Thursday the sniffer dog was in for a day, the best trackers have found no trace of him no broken twigs no hair, no blood, now they have gone too.
“There’s no sign of malicious intent.”
Police cancel the search for Ben Chisholm, but his family refuses to give up
Mr Chisholm’s sister, Shiralee, claimed officers “didn’t pick up” his poor mental condition and dropped him off at home (pictured, Acting Superintendent Mark Camilleri)
“Search efforts have been scaled back with minimal resources, with a focus on investigative results as the search for Ben Chisholm continues on Magnetic Island,” Insp. said Camilleri.
“Police and family are concerned for his well-being given the length of his disappearance.”
Mrs. Rosario desperately calls for volunteers to come and help on the island.
“We need a lot more resources on the ground. Thursday, Friday last week we had 80 on the ground and in the air for 2 days. Then 30, then 8, now 11 people today,” she said.
Magnetic Island SES volunteers have described how committed they have been to the search on social media.
“Two of our Maggie Island SES members have been approaching EVERY 80 hours on this quest since last Saturday. 80 volunteer hours in 10 days,” the service writes.
‘We are so proud of our entire team and our SES family from across the ditch who have done everything possible!’
Ben Chishom’s family posted a message GoFundMe bill to help pay for the costs they incur while searching.
How long can one survive being lost in the Australian bush?
Most people lost in the bush are found within 12 hours, but occasionally they have survived for up to two weeks.
In 2009, British backpacker Jamie Neale survived 12 days alone in the Blue Mountains.
He was found by two bushwalkers who encountered him near the Narrow Neck Fire Trail, about 15 kilometers from Katoomba.
But the record for surviving against all odds is Ricky Megee, who was found after surviving 71 days in the Tanami Desert in the Northern Territory in 2006.
He survived by eating leeches, insects, snakes, lizards and edible plants. He drank water from dams and waterholes and even drank his own urine.
The biggest problems with getting lost in the Australian bush are water and heat – not food.
Obviously, a person can survive three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food.