‘They are extremely lucky to be alive’
Police have said it is an “absolute miracle” that two people have been found alive in the Australian Outback after going missing for days without water.
The friends, identified as 14-year-old Mahesh Patrick and 21-year-old Shaun Emitja, were reported missing in the Arlparra and Harts Range last Tuesday.
They failed to return to the remote community of Hermannsburg, following a visit to the range last weekend.
Mahesh had trekked for about 35km before he was found on Friday, while his companion was found at around 9.45pm the next night, reported ABC News.
The pair had gone to attend a sports carnival in the area and were separated on Wednesday after their vehicle became bogged down on a dirt track. Police believe they had no access to water since Tuesday.
“What an amazing effort, [and at] 14 years old — the resilience and survival instinct is phenomenal,” Southern Region Acting Commander Kirsten Engels told ABC News.
The hopes of finding Mr Emitja alive were “getting pretty grim,” Ms Engels said, adding that the information they gathered from Mahesh helped them find his friend.
“It is an absolute miracle,” she told the news channel, adding “they are extremely lucky to be alive”.
“We all know how harsh it is out there. For what these boys went through, I can hardly believe they have so [few] scars physically.”
The pair stayed in the vehicle until Wednesday, before deciding to walk 5km up a hill with an empty jerry can.
“They thought they were going in a direction that would take them adjacent to the Sandover Highway. On arrival at the top of this hill they realised that was not the case and walked another 5km to another hill,” Ms Engels said.
It was after the pair realised they were heading in the wrong direction, that they backtracked to the first hill and camped there. It is unclear why the pair had separated soon after on Wednesday.
Issuing an advisory, Ms Engels said those traveling through the remote outback should not leave their car if it breaks down. “Stay with your car, we cannot stress that enough," ela disse, adding that one should carry food and four litres of water per person a day.