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The Sandfire Roadhouse is 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) north of Perth in Western Australia. It is on the Great Northern Highway between Port Hedland and Broome, 20 kilometres (12 mi) from the coast. Bogucki left the roadhouse on 11 July 1999. He intended to ride his bike across the Great Sandy Desert to Fitzroy Crossing. Whilst police called off the initial search for Bogucki after 12 days, family members hired specialist trackers to continue the search and soon found fresh evidence that Bogucki had survived at least that long.
Bogucki was found by a news helicopter on 23 August 1999 in Western Australia's Edgar Ranges, 400 kilometres (250 mi) away from where he set off. His subsequent treatment by the news crew raised questions as to the extent to which they had ignored his well-being in order to secure an exclusive news story. With there only being four seats in the helicopter West Australian photographer Robert Duncan was left behind with a bottle of water and an EPIRB. After going without food for about 6 weeks and water for 12 days, Bogucki lost 20 kilograms (44 lb) during the ordeal. He managed to survive by finding some standing water in pools and was also able to find some by digging for it. Later he took to eating flowers and plants. Medical staff at Broome Hospital said his physical condition was ”remarkable". The TV dramatisation of this event and search says he lost 30 kg (66 lbs).