Robert Bogucki

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Robert Bogucki (born 1966) is an American firefighter from Alaska notable for having survived 43 days lost in Western Australia's Great Sandy Desert before being rescued.[1]


The Sandfire Roadhouse is 1,900 kilometres (1,200 mi) north of Perth in Western Australia. It is on the Great Northern Highway between Port Hedland and Broome, 20 kilometres (12 mi) from the coast. Bogucki left the roadhouse on 11 July 1999. He intended to ride his bike across the Great Sandy Desert to Fitzroy Crossing. Whilst police called off the initial search for Bogucki after 12 days, family members hired specialist trackers to continue the search and soon found fresh evidence that Bogucki had survived at least that long.[2]


Bogucki was found by a Channel Nine news helicopter on 23 August 1999 in Western Australia's Edgar Ranges, 400 kilometres (250 mi) away from where he set off.[3] Bogucki's subsequent treatment by the Channel Nine crew raised questions as to the extent to which they had ignored his well-being in order to secure an exclusive news story. With there only being four seats in the helicopter, West Australian photographer Robert Duncan was left behind with a bottle of water and an EPIRB.[4][5] After going without food for about six weeks and water for twelve days, Bogucki had lost 20 kilograms (44 lb) during the ordeal.[6] He found water by digging and straining mud, but also drank from stagnant pools. Later he took to eating flowers and plants. Medical staff at Broome Hospital said his physical condition was ”remarkable".[3]

Dramatisation & Awards[edit]

Boguckis' story and the search for him were made into an episode of the three part ABC series Miracles titled Miracle in the Desert.[6][7]

Robert Duncan, West Australian Photographer, won the 1999 Daily News Centenary Prize WA Media Awards[8] (informally known as the Gold Award or the WA Journalist of the Year) for his involvement, photos and coverage of the search.


  1. ^ Wendy Lewis (2007). See Australia and Die: Tales Of Misadventure Down Under (Paperback). New Holland. ISBN 978-1-74110-583-4.
  2. ^ "Lost in the Desert" (PDF). 1st Special Response Group. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
  3. ^ a b "American found after outback odyssey". BBC News. 1999-08-23. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
  4. ^ "A Current Affair Catch Their Bogucki-man". MediaWatch. 1999-08-30. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
  5. ^ Lowth, Adrienne (1999-08-24). "Channel Nine under fire over Bogucki actions". Retrieved 2008-05-30.
  6. ^ a b "Miracles- Miracle In The Desert". ABC1 Television Guide. 2010-07-08. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  7. ^ Steve Beck. "Miracles". ABC Commercial. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  8. ^ "1999 | WA Media Awards |". Retrieved 2017-01-15.

External links[edit]