How a paranoid mum sparked a desperate manhunt by claiming backpacker couple were ‘missing in the outback’ – all because they missed one phone call after losing reception
- Search for German backpackers was sparked by the mother of the husband
- Benjamin and Nathalie Kress are travelling in a remote part of Western Australia
- The couple had not been heard from by family and friends in two weeks
- Frantic search was sparked after the mother did not get a phone call from them
- They confirmed they were safe and had been travelling through no reception
The desperate search for German backpackers who were thought to be missing in the outback was sparked by a worried mum who couldn’t contact them.
Benjamin Kress, 29, and Nathalie Kress, 26, have been travelling together since October and are currently in Western Australia’s north-west.
The couple were last heard from by family friends at 80 Mile Beach between Broome and Port Hedland on July 21, prompting police to put out an alert on August 5.
They told friends and family they planned to travel the Gibb River Road in the Kimberley region, and chose to take their time and enjoy the outback.
Benjamin Kress, 29, and Nathalie Kress, 26, (pictured) have been travelling together since October and are currently in Western Australia’s north-west
The couple (pictured) were last heard from by family friends at 80 Mile Beach between Broome and Port Hedland on July 21, prompting police to put out an alert on August 5
As they made their slow trip towards the Northern Territory’s border they ventured through an area with little-to-no reception, and missed one phone call from Mr Kress’ mother.
‘Benjamin’s mum is normally in contact with us once a week, and we just told her and other family members that we were driving on the Gibb River Rd,’ Ms Kress told NCA Newswire.
The couple did not clarify how long they planned to take on their trip, and after a week with no contact, Mr Kress’ mother began to think the worst.
This is when Mr and Ms Kress were reported missing, sparking fear across Western Australia and prompting police to issue a release asking for help locating them.
When they reached the end of the road and finally reconnected to reception, Ms Kress said she received a flurry of messages from people desperately trying to contact her.
When they reached the end of the road and finally reconnected to reception, Ms Kress (pictured) said she received hundreds of messages from people attempting to contact her
The newlyweds were last heard from at 80 Mile Beach between Broome and Port Hedland on July 21 after telling their family they were heading to travel on the Gibb River Road
‘We drove the next day to the only point at the Gibb, about 80km from Wyndham, where you have Telstra reception and received hundreds of messages on all channels (social media, texts, etc.). We were shocked it was such a big wave,’ she said.
Ms Kress said they contacted police immediately to report themselves as not missing, and to talk to multiple officers at three police stations to confirm they were not dead.
‘It was totally crazy,’ Ms Kress said.
The ‘Gibb’ is a 660km stretch of road that travels from Derby on the west coast to Kununurra on the Northern Territory border and is considered one of the most spectacular overland trips in Australia.
Police told the couple (pictured) they had been looking for them to make sure they were ok after receiving a missing persons’ report from Mr Kress’ mum
The route traverses through amazing waterfalls, rock pools, Indigenous sites, national parks, broad open ranges and dramatic gorges.
Rare flora and fauna can be seen along the scenic roadway along with geological formations with major attractions including the Windjana Gorge National Park, Manning Gorge and King Leopold Ranges.
The roadway is incredibly remote, with accommodation available in various cattle stations along the route.
Only highly experienced four wheel drivers and campers recommended to tackle the challenging terrain.
The couple told their family they were intending to travel along the 660km Gibb River Road in their silver 2002 Nissan Patrol (pictured)