Teenager found after 5 days alone in bush

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SYDNEY teenager Cassie Olczak has been found alive and well today, walking along a highway north of Wollongong after being missing for almost a week.

Cassie, 16, was located at Waterfall railway station, in Sydney’s southern fringe, by rail employees this morning after a passing motorist had seen her walking along the Princes Hwy near the station just before 9am and called triple-0.

Officers from Sutherland region stopped the girl and confirmed she was the missing teen, ending an extensive search in the nearby national park.

Police said the teenager told them she spent her days away alone in bushland in the Royal National Park, near the station.

“She has been in the bush … from what she said. Not that far from the train station area but she has been in the bush for this period of time,” Assistant Superintendent Gary Ford said.

“She’s obviously had some exposure to the elements but she’s pretty much really in good health considering.

“We will talk to her in the next 24 hours or so, once she’s recovered.”

Cassie’s mother Connie said she was “grateful” her daughter had been found and thanked the search teams for their efforts during the past week.
“I just want the medical team to look after her … She’s been out for a long time,” she said.

“It’s just a miracle and I don’t even know what to say. I’m just grateful that they’ve found her.” She said it was “very bizarre” and out of character for her daughter to disappear as she had.

Cassie went missing last Sunday after she became separated from a female friend and boarded a train at Banksia station, in Sydney’s south, at 6.58pm.

She was spotted on CCTV footage getting off at the remote Waterfall station about 40 minutes later.

One rail commuter reported seeing Cassie “glazed and dazed”, leading her distraught mother Connie to fear her daughter had been given a substance while it is also believed an incident involving Cassie’s friends had upset her.

The discovery of the teenager this morning comes after missing bushwalkers Nikki Groves and Kate Bateup, both 21, were found yesterday morning in the Royal National Park.

The women were spotted by an RFS helicopter after spending 24 hours in the bush.

It is not believed the two cases are linked in any way.

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