Denise and Bruce Morcombe
Denise and Bruce Morcombe Rae Wilson

Morcombes trial a distress signal

BRUCE and Denise Morcombe have unveiled plans to create a universally-recognised distress signal for children.

They believe such a signal could have saved their son Daniel on the day he disappeared more than seven years ago.

The Morcombes chose Saturday night’s Dance For Daniel fundraiser to unveil their plans for “Daniel’s Signal”, saying they had been brainstorming about a distress signal for a long time.

Mrs Morcombe said last year’s coronial inquest into Daniel’s disappearance reignited their decision to create a signal for children to use when they found themselves in trouble.

Daniel was 13 years old when he went missing from beside the Nambour Connection Road, near the Kiel Mountain overpass, on December 7, 2003.

He is believed to have been abducted as he waited to catch a bus to Sunshine Plaza to go shopping for Christmas presents.

During the first weeks of the inquest, several witnesses told how they saw Daniel in his red shirt but did not know if he was in danger.

There was some evidence that he was waving a stick, an action his mother says could have been Daniel trying to get someone’s attention.

“We figured if we could get some sort of universal hand signal that children and adults have to learn, then if someone’s in danger maybe they could be helped,” Mrs Morcombe said.

“If people knew what it was it may have helped Daniel.”

The Morcombes, along with their team at the Daniel Morcombe Foundation, will trial two signals at schools this week.

Tonight they will ask for feedback from parents and children at Sherwood State School in Brisbane.

They will audition the signal at Mooloolaba State School on Wednesday morning.

After the feedback they will decide on a signal to start promoting in the foundation’s children safety DVD.

Mrs Morcombe said she hoped it would become recognised around the world, such as a waving fist used by people swimming in the beach who need help.

She said it would take time to educate people so that all adults and children recognised the signal.

In other countries, Mrs Morcombe said the signal could be named after another child who had gone missing.

THE SIGNALS

Bruce Morcombe said they were considering two options.

"Option A is called Daniel's signal and it basically is a lower case `d'," he said.

"It's your right arm vertically stretched and your left arm kinked at the elbow above your head forming a lower case `d' and to add to that to show some urgency we have the palm at the top of the `d' opening and closing in a blinking fashion.

"The other one called Daniel's cross is the arms stretched above the head forming a cross at the wrists and again the hands blinking, opening and closing.

"They're both simple for a child or person in distress to use and recognisable for passers-by and not confused with a child waving to a friend or stretching arms."


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