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Sydney (AFP) Nov 7, 2012
A 25-year-old man died and another was recovering in hospital Wednesday after they became stranded in the harsh Australian Outback, prompting warnings about the risks of the desert.
The pair had been on a routine morning check of a spring near Ethabuka cattle station, near the Simpson Desert in southeast Queensland state, on Monday when their four-wheel-drive vehicle became bogged on a sand dune.
As temperatures soared to 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) and they failed to free the vehicle, the men attempted to walk the 16 kilometres (10 miles) back.
Mauritz 'Mo' Pieterse, 25, collapsed several kilometres from the station, while his 30-year-old colleague was reportedly found in a distressed state, suffering from extreme dehydration and heat exhaustion.
"When they were found, they had insufficient water supplies with them and obviously dehydration crept in very quickly," police Inspector Paul Biggin said.
The survivor was airlifted to safety after being found by residents of a neighbouring property.
Biggin said the death highlighted the need for those travelling in Australia's vast, remote areas to carry a good supply of water at all times and a means to communicate.
"It would appear, on the circumstances, there have been a number of mistakes made and as I said unfortunately one young man has lost his life," he said.
"Regardless of whether you are working or travelling -- make sure you stock up on plenty of water and have communications. Everyone is susceptible to those high range temperatures that we have in summer."
The two men were conservationists working for Bush Heritage, an organisation that protects Australia's unique animals, plants and habitats.
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