'Tarzan' still out there somewhere
RUMOURS of Tarzan's death are exaggerated, according to Innisfail police who yesterday scotched stories that the half-naked wanderer who was often seen striding along the Bruce Highway had passed on.
Michael Fomenko, the enigmatic octogenarian known in the Far North as "Tarzan", has been reported in a flurry of Facebook postings as having died of pneumonia at Atherton Hospital.
Not so, said Queensland Health.
"No person matching this description is currently being treated as an inpatient in one of our facilities," a spokeswoman said, after checking around hospitals in the Far North.
Innisfail police said they had no reason to believe Tarzan had died.
"He is not dead I have not heard from him for a couple of months, but he is not dead," said an officer, who knew Mr Fomenko.
Similarly the coroner's office had received no report of Mr Fomenko's demise.
It is not the first time the man with wanderlust has gone walkabout.
The former Sydney scholar, who is said to have had a former Russian princess for a mother and a literature professor for a father, turned his back on his family's aristocratic lifestyle for the wet tropics more than 56 years ago.
Shirtless, Tarzan was often seen walking purposefully down the Bruce Highway with a hessian sack over his shoulder eating his beloved Milky Ways.
Last year when he disappeared, he re-emerged living under the James McAvoy Bridge at Innisfail.
His reputation has grown as the years have passed killing crocodiles and wild boars with a huge machete and living off the land.
In 1958, newspapers reported his exploits in a hand-carved wooden canoe, paddling 640km from Cooktown to Thursday Island.
He was admitted to a mental hospital in 1964 after police received reports of him "terrorising" people and allegedly received electro-shock treatment while institutionalised.
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Still swinging: Michael Fomenko, the man they call "Tarzan'', on a previous journey towards Cairns.