The father of Dunedin woman Alice Tocher has described the "exhilaration'' of finding his daughter alive on a bench on a Brisbane bridge.

"I was the first to find her,'' Peter Tocher said yesterday.

"It was exhilaration to find your own child. We had gone from thinking we were looking for a body to realising we've got someone who is very distressed but is alive.''

The mother-of-three went missing after dropping her daughter off in St Kilda on Thursday last week and flew from Christchurch to Brisbane the next day.


Her handbag, containing her passport and driver's licence, was found under a bridge in
Brisbane on Monday.

Her Melbourne-domiciled parents, Mr Tocher and his wife, Jennine, arrived in Brisbane on
Tuesday to search for their daughter.

Mr Tocher said police were reviewing CCTV footage on Tuesday night and called at 10.30pm to say his daughter was filmed on a Goodwill Bridge earlier in the morning.

Goodwill bridge was about 3km from the bridge where the purse was found, he said.

After taking the call from police, he deciphered was about 2km from the Goodwill Bridge and ran to it to find his daughter sleeping on a bench on a secluded part of the bridge.

His daughter was "starving and cold and in a bit of shock'' and was "physically and mentally unwell''.

The first conversation he had with her was "surreal'' and she talked about being on holiday in a "tropical'' city.

He called his wife then police and four patrol cars descended on the bridge within a minute.

"It was like the movies - it was phenomenal.''

A police car was used to take his daughter to Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital where
she spent the night.

When police took her away he began to shake.

"I was a little bit numb . . . we have had the most ghastly situation any parent could expect to happen and we've got her back.''

She was discharged about noon yesterday and would travel to Melbourne with her parents
today and would start creating a plan for her recovery, he said.

During the search, he admitted to having a recurring vision of finding his daughter's body on the rocks on the side of a muddy river.