Woman res­cued af­ter 12 nights in Aus­tralian Out­back

The National - News - - NEWS | WORLD -

A woman was res­cued af­ter almost two weeks stranded in the Aus­tralian out­back.

Tamra McBeath-Ri­ley, 52, was treated in an Alice Springs hos­pi­tal for de­hy­dra­tion and ex­po­sure af­ter she was found late on Sun­day, Po­lice Su­per­in­ten­dent Pauline Vi­cary said.

The air search con­tin­ued yes­ter­day for her friends Claire Hock­ridge, 46, and Phu Tran, 40.

The three set out from Alice Springs for an af­ter­noon drive on Novem­ber 19 and their car be­came bogged down in a riverbed south-west of the town. Ms McBeath-Ri­ley found wa­ter about 1.5 kilo­me­tres north of the car.

“Sen­si­bly she ap­pears to have stayed where the wa­ter is and has been drinking that, and that’s prob­a­bly what kept her go­ing,” Ms Vi­cary said. Ms McBeath-Ri­ley and her com­pan­ions found the water­hole while trekking to­wards a main road 20 kilo­me­tres away on Thurs­day.

The res­cued walker said she de­cided to stay at the water­hole with a dog that she did not think would sur­vive a walk to the Stu­art High­way, which con­nects Aus­tralia’s north and south coasts.

“When the he­li­copter found me, I thought that Claire and Phu had reached the high­way,” she said. “That was my im­me­di­ate thought. So to find that’s not the case is worrying.”

Ms Vi­cary said searchers had found a sin­gle set of foot­prints. “It’s quite a di­verse ter­rain,” Ms Vi­cary said. “There’s sandy dunes, there’s hard clay, there’s ar­eas of dense trees, but there are also rocks and ranges in the area.”

The pair had little food with them, she said.

A cat­tle rancher played a crit­i­cal role in sav­ing the woman, telling po­lice he spot­ted tyre tracks in an area that had not been searched.

“As a re­sult of that in­for­ma­tion, we were able to lo­cate the ve­hi­cle and then from there they have fol­lowed some of the other tracks and have lo­cated her,” Ms Vi­cary said.

Tamra McBeath-Ri­ley, left, with her friend Claire Hock­ridge who is still miss­ing

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