The British backpacker who survived being lost for 12 days in the Australian bush thought he was going to starve to death, and had written notes to say goodbye to his family.

Teenager had left his mobile phone in his room before he set off

Jamie Neale, 19, has described for the first time how he stayed alive against all the odds, after a huge ground and air search had failed to locate him in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales.
In an exclusive interview broadcast on Sky News, he said: "I'm not a particularly religious person but I started thinking about God and was praying saying, surely you can move the helicopter an inch and find me.
"I was thinking that I might die on that mountain and in the notebook I had, which I later lost, I had actually written some goodbye notes, things to family, saying sorry and explaining how I got lost and things like that.
"I thought I was gonna have a long painful starvation death where I could just really think it over and over and over again."
Jamie had set off from a hostel in Katoomba on July 1, taking with him just a few rolls and a bottle of water.
He did not think he would be gone for more than a few hours, and left his mobile phone in his room.

Jamie reunited with his father in hospital

He admits he was an idiot to ignore signs urging people to register with the authorities before going bushwalking. As he headed for Mount Solitary, he veered off the path and got lost.
"The first day I didn't really think I was in that much trouble. Even when I was off the path, I thought I was only slightly off.
"I thought I was to the right, if I carry on going left I'll get back on the path.
"I started circling round and it was when I saw Castle Ruin and Mount Solitary on my left, and I thought... that's when it really shocked me, that I was in the wrong side of the valley and that I've been walking for a day and half in the wrong direction.
"That's when I started to think I'm in trouble. I'd fallen in water, got soaked and hadn't been able to get out.
"That's when the panic started to set in because I knew I couldn't climb up and down these hills, it was too tough and I couldn't get out."

He went on: "The first two nights I pretty much laid down on the floor, bundled up into a ball and camped out, and stuck it out.
"When I realised that I was a bit lost and was waiting for rescue, I actually did build a shelter to hunker down in.
"I pretty much just got big branches of wood and broken dead bits of tree and had built up a basic frame. ...and then I used these big chunks of bark to fill up most of the gaps."
He tried without success to build a fire both to keep warm and to signal to rescuers.
"I sharpened wood into spikes against rocks and ... I was trying to create a fire. But you see these things on TV survival shows and that, but it's a lot harder than you think.
"People think you can go out, rub two sticks together and you create a fire."

Briton went missing in the Blue Mountains

As the days wore on he began to look for things to eat, and found some seeds which looked like nuts.
"I was later told that kangaroos eat them and they're called Tongue Orchids. You can taste a bit of moisture inside. I wouldn't say they filled me up but they do help keep you going.
"I just took a risk and ate them. Some people say 'how did you know they weren't poisonous?' But you didn't, you just took the risk. The other thing I ate was this green leafy rockety type thing, which I've later found out they do actually use in salads up here.
"I was trying to look for things like worms under stones and that. But a few times I saw these bright red millipedes, and I thought no, don't. Bright red, danger."
He could see and hear the helicopters which were looking for him, unaware that his father Richard Cass was on board one of them, having travelled from England to take part in the search.
But he could not make himself seen in the dense undergrowth.

His father Richard Cass joined the search for him

"I had a bright blue shirt which I tied and was trying to wave, and I was shouting out trying to get their attention. The first time a chopper had gone across, I thought well if it's gone over once it will go over again.
"But when it starts happening more and more, it's such frustration and anger and you're like, can you not see me?"
After 12 nights sleeping rough he finally stumbled along another path and caught a glimpse of a tent through the trees.
"At that point I just started walking towards it and then started screaming hello! And then I saw the bloke walk out and I started screaming and running but I almost lost energy.
"I just collapsed into their camp and found them and knew I'd been saved."
The experienced bushwalkers who found him, escorted him on a three-hour long trek to rendezvous with the police who took him to hospital.
Doctors say he is not yet well enough to face a flight back home to England.