Two rescued after Outback ordeal. Woman still lost

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Woman rescued from waterhole
Tamra McBeath-Riley stayed by the waterhole with her dog, Raya. PIC: NT Police

A second member of a trio which went missing during a drive in the Northern Territory Outback two weeks ago has been found alive.

Adelaide man Phu Tran has been rescued after being found by a pastoralist in the Palmer Valley this morning.

He and  companions, Tamra McBeath-Riley and Claire Hockridge, went missing two weeks ago when their car became bogged in the Finke River.

Ms Hockridge is still missing.

Mr Tran managed to survive in the arid central Australian outback after finding water. He was taken to hospital to be treated for exposure.

Tamra McBeath-Riley, 52, was rescued on Sunday. She stayed alive by drinking water from a watering hole for cattle, eating biscuits, and sheltering in a hole dug under her car.

The ABC reports that she was found at a waterhole east of the Stuarts Well area, south of Alice Springs, late on Sunday afternoon.

The three friends initially stayed by their bogged car for about three days trying to free it, but they moved on after running out of supplies.

The trio left the car with a note indicating which direction they were travelling in.

“They walked about 1.5 kilometres west and located an area in the Finke River where there is water,” NT Police Superintendent Pauline Vicary said. “They made a decision to stay there and were using the water in that area to drink … some of that water was boiled and sieved through a shirt so that they could drink it. It was still quite dirty, not hygienic water, but it kept them alive.”

Superintendent Vicary said the group quickly ate through their food supplies, and began to worry they would not be found.

Tran and Claire made a decision to go north towards the Stuart Highway, which was about 22 kilometres away, while Ms McBeath-Riley stayed back with her dog, Raya, who they didn’t think would have survived the journey.

She said Ms Hockridge and Mr Tran planned to walk at night and early afternoon when it was cooler and their intention was to stay together.

The ABC reports that Ms McBeath-Riley was saved after a pastoralist told police they had spotted tyre tracks nearby. The air search for the missing group was redirected and spotted the vehicle with a note left inside.

Police say it appeared as though Ms Hockridge and Mr Tran then split up.

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3 Responses to Two rescued after Outback ordeal. Woman still lost

  1. Whilst 2 of the 3 have been found alive it would seem as time goes by that the chances of finding the 3rd member becomes more remote every day that passes. I am forever amazed that even today with all the usual media as well as social media warnings about entering the outback under prepared there are people still stupid enough to do so. What’s the cost of a satellite phone, but we are still smarter than those that know better and believe that nothing is going to happen to me. This is a potential warning to all those that are thinking of travelling into the outback, if you can’t afford a decent well maintained vehicle and you can’t afford a reliable satellite phone THEN DON”T GO.

    • A personal emergency epirb or at the very least a set of flares should be compulsary – just as life jackets are for sailors.

      • Mari, I could not agree more.

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