Wade Butler disappeared at Precipitous Bluff in southern Tasmania in 1995.
Tasmanian Search For Wade Butler
The following is a reprint from the Wilderness Rescue newsletter for December 1995:
On the 29th November 1995 ten bushwalkers from Bushwalkers Wilderness Rescue flew to Tasmania to assist in the private search for the missing son of Sydney Bush Walker (SBW) Dot Butler, Wade. Wade had not been seen since leaving on a solo six day round trip to Precipitous Bluff (PB) via the southern ranges and return on the South Coast Track.
PB is an imposing long mountain, beside a coastal lagoon, that seems to rise out of the ocean to 1220 in high. The side paralleling the lagoon has outstanding cliffs of dolerite columns that give the mountain its name.
An extensive official search had retraced Wades footsteps and found a very definite footprint at PB low camp. This is the last camp before going up, over and down PB to New River Lagoon. The South Coast Track crosses the mouth of New River Lagoon.
As the official search was ending, it was thought that a voice was heard near a helipad beside Limestone Creek. Thus the private search concentrated on the immediate area of “the voice” and other possible ways off PB. Our radios were able to establish radio communications to the nearest town. Mixed teams with number of Tasmanian Bushwalkers were able to comprehensively search a number of areas.
Limestone Creek, which is a natural funnel that several ridges feed into, was line searched down to New River Lagoon on both sides. All the false leads at the bottom of the usual ridge were checked. Some of the Karst country at the base of the mountain was searched. The search around the area of “the voice” was thorough but found no trace of Wade.
Saturday afternoon, 2nd December, 1995 all volunteers were airlifted out. On Monday fresh teams of Tasmanians continued the search until Friday 8th December 1995. The private search was well led and organised by the Tasmanians and added extensively to the area searched officially. All ways off PB have been fleetingly to extensively searched. The Karst country with its sink holes has had some searching but would need many more bushwalkers to completely search it. The Southern Ranges and the South Coast track have been checked. No extra evidence of Wades movements has been found.
Wilderness Rescue was all the time working behind the scenes organising flights, budget details, updating information to all concerned. Wilderness rescue is extremely grateful for the opportunity to assist fellow bushwalkers in Tasmania. Wilderness rescue would like to thank Dick Smith for his sponsorship. His planned budget was increased to assist the Tasmanians in their second private search.
In 1995, the son of legendary Australian adventurer Dorothy Butler, headed off for a six-day round trip to Precipitous Bluff, a mountain range in the south-west (Tasmania).
An account of the search for Wade Butler recorded that a team of 10 had "retraced his footsteps and found a very definite footprint at Precipitous Bluff low camp".
"As the official search was ending, it was thought that a voice was heard near a helipad beside Limestone Creek. Thus the private search concentrated on the immediate area of the voice and other possible ways off PB," the report said.
But after hopes were raised, days of searching would lead to nothing, with efforts to find Wade Butler abandoned soon after.