18 Jul 2009

Backpacker leaves hospital

9:57 am on 18 July 2009

A British backpacker is now out of hospital after spending 12 days lost in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.

Jamie Neale, 19, left Katoomba hospital on Friday evening after being treated for hypothermia for more than two days.

He made a brief comment to a big media contingent outside hospital before being driven away: "I'd like to thank everyone for their support - it's fantastic - especially the staff at the Blue Mountains hospital. They've been magnificent," he said.

Mr Neale went missing on 3 July on a day walk around the Ruined Castle site.

He was found by bushwalkers on Wednesday, dehydrated but in relatively good health. He is thought to have lived on seeds and a weed that he found.

The ABC reports there has been speculation that Mr Neale could be paid a six-figure sum for his story by the British or Australian press.

Reports say Mr Neale signed a $A200,000 deal with the Nine Network's 60 Minutes programme.

Blue Mountains area police commander, Superintendent Tony McWirter, has dismissed claims that the incident may have been staged.