Tamra McBeath-Riley is lucky to be alive this morning after spending 12 harrowing days stranded in the Australian outback.
According to BBC News, McBeath-Riley, 52, left Alice Springs, Australia, on an afternoon drive with two friends on Nov. 19. However, the car the group was driving became stuck in a riverbed somewhere along the way. Not able to get the car out of the river, the group decided to hunker down in the car for three days. There, they survived on 1.5 gallons of water, a pack of biscuits, 10 cans of vodka-mixer, and beef noodles. Her travel companions, Claire Hockridge and Phu Tran, are still missing.
“We tried so many times to get out, but just couldn't get out, the river was too large,” McBeath-Riley told BBC. "During the day it's just really hot so we dug ourselves under the car into the sand. At night [we] could sleep in the car.”
The group eventually found a nearby watering hole and boiled water before sieving it through a shirt.
"It was still quite dirty, not hygienic water but it kept them alive," NT Police Superintendent Pauline Vicary told reporters.
Eventually, the trio decided to leave the safety of the car to find help. They split up with Hockridge and Tran walking toward the highway. McBeath-Riley decided to stay in place as she did not believe her dog would survive the trek.
Police eventually found McBeath-Riley about a mile from the car. They have yet to find her companions.
"She's had a fairly traumatic period of time," Vicary added. "Sensibly she appears to have stayed where the water is and has been drinking that and that's probably what kept her going."
McBeath-Riley was taken to the hospital for severe dehydration. Police are still searching for the others using helicopters to scan the area.
"It's quite a diverse terrain,” Vicary said. “There are sandy dunes, there’s hard clay, there are areas of dense trees but there is also rocks and ranges in the area as well."
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