An elderly Queenstown woman spent five days exposed to the elements after crashing her car out of sight of passing motorists, a coroner has found.
An elderly Queenstown woman spent five days exposed to the elements after crashing her car out of sight of passing motorists, a coroner has found.

Woman's frightening and lonely death over five days

A CORONER says a woman with mobility issues who died exposed to the elements after crashing her car near Tullah in 2018 would have suffered a frightening and lonely death.

Susan Ann Deuchar, was 72 when she crashed on Anthony Rd and spent the next five days out in the elements unable to reach the road to get help.

The Queenstown resident also twice tried to call emergency services but there was no mobile service in the area.

Releasing her findings, Coroner Olivia McTaggart said the cause of Mrs Deucher's death was environmental heat and cold exposure with dehydration and that she had died between December 10 and December 15, 2018.

"On the evidence, a combination of several circumstances contributed to her death - Mrs Deuchar being alone in her vehicle, her loss of control, her poor medical condition, the lack of mobile phone service, and the steep and bushy road verge that obscured her vehicle and body from passing motorists," Ms McTaggart said.

"Although Mrs Deuchar died before she was reported to police as a missing person, the significant efforts of officers of Tasmania Police in searching for her are to be commended."

Mrs Deuchar used a cane for balance and additional support while walking.

However, she was still lived alone and was considered a careful and competent driver.

On December 10, 2018, Mrs Deuchar drove to Ulverstone to attend a doctor's appointment and told people she would be back in Queenstown in a few days.

As she drove towards the North West Coast she lost control on a bend about 4.8km south of the intersection of Anthony Rd and the Murchison Highway.

Her car travelled 15m down an embankment.

Mrs Deuchar suffered minor injuries and managed to get out of the car. But as she started climbing up the embankment she either fell or laid down and was unable to get back up.

Mrs Deuchar was reported missing on December 12 by a long-time friend.

The West Coast woman had not attended her doctor's appointment the day and no-one had heard from her.

Police officers went to her Queenstown home. She was not home and her car was gone.

A missing-person report was submitted.

The search expanded over the next two days and on December 15 a rescue helicopter was deployed after footage of Mrs Deuchar's vehicle, captured on a motorist's dashcam was given to police.

The footage provided Mrs Deuchar's direction of travel and her car and body were found.

Police concluded there were no suspicious circumstances nor indications that any other person was involved in Mrs Deuchar's death.

helen.kempton@news.com.au

Originally published as Crash victim's frightening, lonely death