A woman stranded in the Australian outback for almost two weeks was miraculously found alive Sunday - even as rescue efforts continued in the remote region for the 52-year-old's two friends who remained unaccounted for.
On Nov. 19, as the trio passed over a riverbed, their vehicle got stuck.
The group spent three days drinking cans of iced vodka before they chose to split up to go in search of help.
He had been with friends Tamra McBeath-Riley, 52, and Claire Hockridge, 46, when their auto got stuck in a riverbed near Alice Springs on November 23. Their goal was to reach a highway about 14 miles from their position, and McBeath-Riley said she assumed that they were aboard the helicopter which had come to rescue her.
"We tried many times to try to get out, but just couldn't get out, so ventured forth to try and find some shelter and some water", she said.
A cattle rancher played a key role in saving the woman, telling police that he spotted tire tracks in an area that had not been searched.
McBeath-Riley said they had stayed by their auto for three days and tried to free it, but then ran out of supplies, having consumed the six liters of water, 10 iced vodka cans, beef noodles and biscuits they had taken with them. They did not know anyone was looking for them.
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She said she was hopeful Hockridge and Tran would be found, but joked, "I'm sure [Tran] won't want to go four-wheel driving with us ever again".
Mr Tran and Ms McBeath-Riley suffered through 40C heat before they were found. "So to find that's not the case is worrying".
Police said Mr Tran survived by drinking ground water and he would be transported to Alice Springs hospital for treatment. Her dog's status was not immediately clear.
She was rescued Sunday after Australian police deployed helicopters to search for the group. "It looks like she had travelled about 1.5km from the vehicle and was in an area where there was some water", Vicary said.
"It's quite a diverse terrain", Vicary said.
The pair had little food with them, she said.
McBeath-Riley told reporters the group initially survived by digging holes under their auto to shelter from the sun. "There's sandy dunes, there's hard clay, there's areas of dense trees, but there are also rocks and ranges in the area", Vicary said.