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Bushwalker died in snow due to "poor decisions"

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A Tasmanian coroner says a bushwalker who died on the Overland Track brought about his own demise.

Trevor John Tolputt was wearing inadequate clothing and refused another walker's offer to accompany him before he collapsed and died of hypothermia in mid 2016.

Mr Tolputt’s body was found by fellow bushwalker Simon Cubbin on the morning of July 15, about 600-700m from Narcissus Hut, on the northern end of Lake St Clair.

Coroner Olivia McTaggart has today published her findings into the tragedy.

An inquest heard the Parks and Wildlife Service was never informed that the 55-year-old was overdue and a rescue effort didn't commence until nearly 12 hours after he died, with snow on local radio towers rendering them useless.

The day before Mr Tolputt's body was found, a two-way radio call between Narcissus Hut and Lake St Clair Lodge by concerned bushwalker Simon Cubbin, was not conveyed to the Parks and Wildlife Service.

They were not informed until Mr Cubbin made another radio call the following day about 9am to say he had found Mr Tolputt’s body.

The police search and rescue helicopter arrived at 12.50pm and took Mr Tolputt’s body to Hobart.

Ms McTaggart said she had no doubt that if Parks and Wildlife was notified of Mr Cubbin’s concerns the previous evening, police would have been called. However she said even if Parks and Wildlife were notified that evening, it would not have changed Mr Tolputt’s situation.

Coroner McTaggart made 8 recommendations, including more stringent clothing requirements for winter trekkers, as well as better communication between PWS and the private company which runs the Lake St Clair lodge.


Image: Kesley O'Brien