Hunt for missing pair after woman found alive in Outback

A woman who survived a traumatic fortnight stranded in Australia's unforgiving Outback saved herself by finding a water hole.

Tamra McBeath-Riley, 52, is being treated in an Alice Springs hospital for dehydration and exposure after a traumatic fight for survival.

Her two companions remain missing after their dual-cab ute got bogged in a riverbed southwest of Alice Springs almost two weeks ago.

An air search will continue on Monday for Claire Hockridge, 46, and Phu Tran, 40, who set off with Ms McBeath-Riley on November 19, for a drive outside the central Australian town.

Police say the 52-year-old survivor was found not far from the trio's bogged vehicle.

"She's had a fairly traumatic period of time. It looks like she had travelled about 1.5km from the vehicle and was in an area where there was some water," Superintendent Pauline Vicary has told ABC television.

"So sensibly she appears to have stayed where the water is and has been drinking that and that's probably what kept her going."

A note found in the vehicle, and dated November 21, is guiding Monday's search.

"They left it in the vehicle to say that they had been bogged, and what direction they were going to be going in and to get help," Supt Vicary said.

It appeared Ms McBeath-Riley had gone north of the vehicle and the others had gone west.

A keen-eyed pastoralist played a key role in saving the woman, telling police he'd spotted tyre tracks in an area that hadn't been searched.

"We got some information from a station worker advising that there were some wheel tracks around the White Hill Dam area, it wasn't in one of the areas that we had previously searched," Supt Vicary said.

"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."

Add a Comment





Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter