WES Hunter can still remember the footsteps of his rescuers as he huddled under a tent after spending about 12 hours stranded near the summit of Mt Bogong.
He and his friend Benjamin Briggs, suffering severe hypothermia and dehydration, were eventually rescued at 3.40am on July 6 and are back to full health thanks to a team of 14 men who spent hours looking for them throughout the night.
The civilian rescue team was recognised with divisional commendations at the Victoria Police awards ceremony in Wangaratta last week, where Mr Hunter fought back tears as he took the chance to publicly thank them.
“I’m amazed that we’re still here today and it’s thanks to these guys,” he said.
“Every single one of these guys here put their own lives on the line and found us.
“Those footsteps in the morning, just that crunch of the ice, was the most beautiful sound I’ll ever hear in my life.”