- Pair lost during inland Queensland gold hunt
- Trail bike riders came across them on Sunday
A missing mother and daughter have been found after police launched a large-scale search in rural Queensland, after the pair failed to return home on Friday night.
Alarm bells were raised after authorities found they found a locked Ford Falcon ute near Old Esk North Road, Nanango, containing the phones of Michelle Lyn Melbourne, 54, and Nikita May Bennett, 36.
Police believed they went prospecting around at Seven Mile Diggings – an old gold fossicking area which was used between 1876 to 1900.
The site is located in the state’s South Burnett region, roughly 177.5km inland from the Sunshine Coast.
At about 8am on Sunday morning, two trail bike riders reported finding Ms Melbourne and Ms Bennett near a structure outside the search area.
The two women were airlifted to Kingaroy Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Initial fears were held for the safety of the pair, due to the area’s rough and steep terrain, and freezing overnight conditions, where temperatures can drop to about 3C.
A large-scale search and rescue operation was launched on Saturday comprised of Polair, the State Emergency Service (SES) and volunteers.
On Saturday, the son of Ms Melbourne, Ben Melbourne issued a worrying plea on social media.
‘Missing: Has anyone seen my mother and sister they been missing 24 hour last seen out at Seven Mile Diggings in Nanango Qld,’ he wrote.
‘Please if you see them please call the police I have put in reports and I have had a rescue helicopter and SES and police and volunteers help at Seven Mile Diggings for the last 24 hours please help searching for them please repost.
‘Please help me find my mum and sister there (sic) names are Michelle Diebert Melbourne Nikita Bennett.’
Queensland Police thanked the public for their assistance.