Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Australia woman trekker dies on the Kokoda Trail

A sad story from the Kokoda Trail in the lead-up to ANZAC Day next Saturday…


A WOMAN from Victoria, Australia has died during a family pilgrimage along the Kokoda Trail ahead of ANZAC Day, The National  reports.

Samantha Killen, 36, of Hamilton in the state’s southwest, was just one day into the arduous trek with her father, brother and a friend when she collapsed last Friday morning.

It was believed she was suffering from dehydration, but the cause of death remained unclear yesterday.

Ms Killen, who worked at the ANZ Bank in Hamilton, had a daughter and son aged under five. They are with her husband Deon.

A relative yesterday declined to comment because the family was still too traumatised.

Like many other Australians, the Killen family was attempting the 96km walk to commemorate the loss of more than 600 Australian soldiers in some of the fiercest fighting of World War II.

Ms Killen’s group reportedly hoped to finish the walk in time for Anzac Day this Saturday.

A spokesman from the Australian foreign affairs and trade department confirmed that a Victorian woman had died while walking the trail.

“Consular officers from the High Commission in Port Moresby are providing consular assistance to the woman’s relatives and a friend who were accompanying her on the track,” he said.

Former executive officer of the Kokoda Track Authority Warren Bartlett had heard from one tour guide, Dik Knight, that the woman was one of about half a dozen hikers seen to be struggling last Friday morning.

“Everyone was in really bad condition,” Mr Bartlett said.

“Apparently, the woman while having breakfast, complained that she felt dizzy when she got up.

“She sat down but she got up again and continued walking but collapsed and died along the track.”

Mr Knight, who was walking in the opposite direction, believed he had been talking to Ms Killen at the Va’ Ule Creek campsite and her group the night before she died and they seemed in good spirits.

When Mr Knight last saw Ms Killen’s group, they were preparing for the eight-hour trek up the demanding Ioribaiwa Ridge.

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