Page last updated at 10:51 GMT, Wednesday, 30 July 2008 11:51 UK

Bug feast saves Outback pest man

Theo Rosmulder describes his ordeal in the Outback

When a former pest-control officer lost his bearings in Australia's Outback he thought he would die, until he stumbled on a termites' nest and "got stuck in".

Theo Rosmulder, 52, managed to survive for four days by feasting on termites and other insects before local Aborigines rescued him.

"Termites don't taste too bad," he told reporters in the mining town of Laverton in Western Australia.

Mr Rosmulder was prospecting for gold last Friday when he got lost.

He had separated from his group about 80 miles (130km) north of Laverton and carried on alone, armed only with a penknife, a torch and a metal detector, police said.

Believing he would never be rescued, he said he sought out somewhere to "crawl into a hole and just call it quits".

"[I] found a hollow in the rocks where the kangaroos slept and crawled into it, got a few bushes over the top of me and stayed the night," he said.

Moisture and protein

But the next day a chance discovery of a termite mound changed his luck.

Australia map

"I just hit the top of the termite nest off and got stuck into them," he said.

Police said Mr Rosmulder was suffering from dehydration but was otherwise in "surprisingly good condition".

Sgt Graham Clifford, of Western Australia police, said the insects and termites had provided him with moisture and protein.

"He kept eating what he used to kill," Sgt Clifford said.

Police had launched a large search operation at first light on Saturday, with dozens of searchers combing 77 sq miles (200 sq km) of the rocky desert terrain by land and air.

But it was a group of local Aborigines who spotted Mr Rosmulder, still clutching his metal detector, on Tuesday morning.

"It was just magic, I just collapsed," Mr Rosmulder said, before adding that he intended to continue with his gold-hunting holiday.

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