Australian woman survives being stranded for nearly 2 weeks in outback

Clay Curtis
December 3, 2019

There's been a second miracle in the search for a trio who went missing in the searing Northern Territory outback two weeks ago.

Just one person remains missing after a pastoralist found Phu Tran, 40, in the Palmer Valley area south of Alice Springs this morning.

Mr Tran was with two other people who became stranded when their auto got stuck in a riverbed on 19 November.

Tamra McBeath-Riley, Phu Tran and Claire Hockridge. In January, German tourist Monika Billen was found dead near Alice Springs after she disappeared while on a hike.

Tamra McBeath-Riley was rescued Sunday after spending 12 days in the area of Alice Springs in Australia's Northern Territory, but two companions are still missing.

"To find out that's not the case is worrying", she said.

"During the day it's just really hot so we dug ourselves under the vehicle".

They also dug a hole underneath the auto to provide shelter during the day, since there were no trees where they were stuck, and slept in the vehicle at night when the temperature dropped.

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The group initially survived on six liters of water, 10 cans of iced vodka, beef noodles and biscuits that they brought along for what was supposed to be an afternoon trip.

They eventually found a watering hole, and boiled the water before sieving it through a shirt.

"Sensibly she appears to have stayed where the water is and has been drinking that, and that's probably what kept her going", Vicary said.

They eventually made a decision to split up to get help. They split up with Hockridge and Tran walking toward the highway.

It said McBeath-Riley had walked north looking for help, while Phu and Hockridge had walked west towards the Stuart Highway about 22km away.

Northern Territory Police despatched helicopters to search for the trio.

Ms McBeath-Riley was found by helicopter east of Stuarts Well on Sunday afternoon after a tip-off led police to the group's auto, which became bogged in the Finke River.

"Because of the terrain that they have gone missing in, and because we don't have a particularly focused area, we are still doing the helicopters", Supt Vicary told ABC on Monday. "There's sandy dunes, there's hard clay, there's areas of dense trees, but there are also rocks and ranges in the area".

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