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Friday, January 15, 1999 Published at 08:00 GMT

World: Asia-Pacific

Stranded tourist's guilt over crash

Clive Sutton survived 22 days in the searing heat

A British tourist who survived for more than three weeks in a remote part of Papua New Guinea had left the UK to forget his part in a tragic accident, according to his family.

Clive Sutton, 30, was left stranded by his guide on the first day of a hiking holiday in a mountainous region of the western Pacific country.

He survived for 22 days in the scorching heat before he was spotted by a local villager who raised the alarm.

The BBC's Michael Peschardt reports from Sydney
His father, Michael, said his son had left Britain to forget a car crash on Christmas Day, 1992 in which a mother and a young man were killed.

Mr Sutton was more than twice the legal acohol limit when his car crashed into a taxi queue at Keynsham, Bristol, killing Sarah Monelle, 21, and Richard Barnett, 24.

He was sentenced to four years in prison after admitting to two charges at Bristol Crown Court of causing death by dangerous driving.

[ image: The 150-mile Kokoda track is rugged, treacherous terrain]
The 150-mile Kokoda track is rugged, treacherous terrain
Michael Sutton said: "He felt very bad about the accident and that was partly why he went away."

Survival technique

Australian troops managed to rescue Mr Sutton on Wednesday from a creek bed near the upper Goldie River and flew him to hospital in Queensland.

The Australian Embassy had alerted the soldiers about him after hearing a report from a Salvation Army base at Sogeri that an "Australian walking the Kokoda Track was in a serious condition".

A spokesman for the Australian Army said he appeared to have survived by eating packets of rehydratable noodles and fruit.

Mr Sutton, from Bristol, is understood to have undergone surgery on his leg after contracting gangrene. He is also believed to be suffering with malaria and severe dehydration.

'Constant danger'

Labourer Mr Sutton set out on his trek along the rugged 150-mile long Kokoda Track shortly before Christmas but was left stranded after just 24 hours.

A spokeswoman for the Cairns Base Hospital, where Mr Sutton is recovering, said his condition was "stable" although he has not yet spoken about his ordeal.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are very grateful to the Australian authorities for the rescue.

"The High Commissioner has informed Mr Sutton's next-of-kin and we are following his progress via the Consular General in Brisbane."

He said the Foreign Office warns travellers to Papua New Guinea of the "constant threat and danger" posed by the rugged terrain and poor infrastructure.

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