Screenshot by NPR/Victoria Police
A woman who went missing after taking a wrong turn in the Australian outback survived five days on wine and candy, local authorities said.
A 48-year-old woman, who Identified in a police media report Only “Lillian” was rescued by helicopter in Mitta Mitta Bushland, a patch of dense eucalyptus forest in the southeastern state of Victoria.
Lillian was driving to Dartmouth Dam for a day trip from the nearby town of Bright when she hit a dead-end road and realized she had taken a wrong turn. While trying to turn the car, the vehicle got stuck in the mud.
Without cell service, she couldn’t call for help. Health issues made it difficult for her to try to walk, but in the end may have helped her survive because she was able to use the car heater overnight. Temperatures as low as 35 degrees.
Watch the moment an air wing finds a woman who had been missing for five days in dense bushland.
Yesterday afternoon, the air wing was sweeping the hilly terrain when they found Lillian’s car at the end of a dirt road in Mita Mita bushland.
— Victoria Police (@VictoriaPolice) May 6, 2023
Planning only a two-hour trip, Lillian only had a few snacks, some candy, and a bottle of wine, which she intended to give her mother as a present. Lillian doesn’t drink, but her bottle is her only liquid.
Lillian’s family reported her missing on April 30 after she failed to make the daily check-in call. Local media News 7 reported that bad weather limited the ability of local authorities to search by air.
“The area is so vast. If you can imagine, we’re talking about hundreds of kilometers where Lillian could be,” police spokesman Chris Barr told News 7 on the fourth day of the search. “We don’t have a starting point right now.”
Lillian’s sister-in-law, Lisa Ip, told News 7 Lillian was unfamiliar with the area but was excited to see it on her trip. Police said Lillian was from Cheltenham, a suburb of Melbourne about 160 miles south-west.
Five days later, police found her by helicopter, standing on a dirt road waving her arms, about 37 miles from the nearest town. Rescue video shared by police As a police car approaches the ground, Lillian is shown bowing in a gesture of sheer relief.
“After being lost in the bush for five days, she was so relieved and grateful to see us and we were delighted to see her,” said Sergeant Martin Torby of the Wodonga, Australia Police Department.
Lillian was treated at a nearby hospital for dehydration, but otherwise appears to be healthy.