Australian Tamra McBeath-Riley rescued from outback after nearly 2 weeks

Dec. 2 (UPI) — A 52-year-old woman who survived for nearly two weeks in the scorching Australian outback said Monday she did it by burrowing into the sand beneath her stalled car and drinking from a watering hole intended for cattle.

Tamra McBeath-Riley was rescued Sunday after spending 12 days in the area of Alice Springs in Australia’s Northern Territory, but two companions are still missing. The trio set out for a drive on Nov. 19 but didn’t return. Their vehicle became bogged down in a riverbed.

McBeath-Riley told reporters following her rescue she fears for the lives of her friends, her partner Claire Hockridge, 46 and their friend Phu Tran, 40.

She said they decided to split off and seek help after about a week after being stranded. 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.

“To find out that’s not the case is worrying,” she said.

Northern Territories Police Superintendent Pauline Vicary said two police helicopters are still searching for Hockridge and Tran as their ordeal extended to a 13th day Monday.

McBeath-Riley said all three stayed with the vehicle for the first few days until their supplies ran out, escaping heat which reached 104 degrees Fahrenheit by digging into the cool sand under the car. After leaving a note on the car’s windshield, they eventually set out together to find shelter and water and found the cattle watering hole.

“It is what it is and you’ve got to what you’ve got to do,” she said.

After about a week, the trio split up to find help, with McBeath-Riley remaining with her dog and the other two setting off on foot.

Vicary said authorities are following a single set of footprints through the Northern Territory outback, indicating that Hockridge and Tran had also split.