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Phu Tran found alive after missing in the Australian Outback for two weeks – friend still missing


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A man who has been missing for two weeks in the Outback has been found alive.

Phu Tran, 40, was found on Tuesday morning by a pastoralist to the south of Alice Springs.

He had been with friends Tamra McBeath-Riley, 52, and Claire Hockridge, 46, when their car got stuck in a riverbed near Alice Springs on November 23.

The group spent three days drinking cans of iced vodka before they decided to split up to go in search of help. 

Mr Tran and Ms McBeath-Riley suffered through 40C heat before they were found. 

Ms McBeath-Riley was found on Sunday near the watering hole and has been taken to hospital. 

Ms Hockridge is still missing. 

Mr Tran (pictured) and Mrs Hockridge went in a westerly direction after their car got stuck while Miss McBeath-Riley headed in a northerly direction where she found a waterhole 

Tamra McBeath-Riley (left) has been found alive in the outback after the car she was in got bogged and she split apart from her two companions Claire Hockridge (right) and Phu Tran

Tamra McBeath-Riley (left) has been found alive in the outback after the car she was in got bogged and she split apart from her two companions Claire Hockridge (right) and Phu Tran

Police told reporters on Tuesday morning Mr Tran and Ms Hockridge had walked together for a few days before he decided to continue along the fence line, leaving her behind. 

He walked for two days  before finding the pastoralist.

He was slightly disorientated when he was found but was in good spirits, police said.

A desperate search is now underway to find Ms Hockridge and helicopters are being sent out to scour the area.

Ms McBeath-Riley shared her harrowing ordeal with the ABC, revealing how she had been going for an afternoon drive with her partner and friend on November 23 when their car became bogged down in the dry bed of the Finke River, around 70 miles to the south of Alice Springs.

She said the trio tried several times to get the vehicle out, by the river was too wide and they couldn’t manage it.

The group initially survived on six liters of water, 10 cans of iced vodka, beef noodles and biscuits that they brought along for what was supposed to be an afternoon trip.

They also dug a hole underneath the car to provide shelter during the day, since there were no trees where they were stuck, and slept in the vehicle at night when the temperature dropped.

She said they huddled together along with her Staffordshire terrier named Raya in order to keep warm.

Trio told friends they were headed toward Stuarts Well and Owen Springs areas, south of Alice Springs, for an afternoon trek on November 19 when they went missing (file photo)

Trio told friends they were headed toward Stuarts Well and Owen Springs areas, south of Alice Springs, for an afternoon trek on November 19 when they went missing (file photo)

Phu Tran, 40, was found on Tuesday morning by a pastoralist to the south of Alice Springs. He had been with friends Tamra McBeath-Riley, 52, and Claire Hockridge, 46, when their car got stuck in a riverbed near Alice Springs on November 23

Phu Tran, 40, was found on Tuesday morning by a pastoralist to the south of Alice Springs. He had been with friends Tamra McBeath-Riley, 52, and Claire Hockridge, 46, when their car got stuck in a riverbed near Alice Springs on November 23

As supplies ran low, Ms McBeath-Riley said they set out in order to find shelter and water, leaving a note in the vehicle explaining where they were going, before stumbling upon a cattle drinking hole about a mile away.

The group replenished their supplies of water by boiling what they found and filtering it, but were still desperately low on food.

On November 28, five days after they got stuck and fearing that rescue was not coming, Ms Hockridge and Mr Tran decided to set off in search of help.

Ms McBeath-Riley said she decided to stay behind with dog Raya because she feared the animal would not have survived the trek.

She said the decision to split up was not easy, but was one they came to together. 

‘We didn’t think anybody was searching for us,’ she said. ‘The quickest way to get found was to walk, and it’s safer if there is two.’

She said the pair have a car GPS system with them and a compass, and were heading in the direction of Stuart Highway, around 13 miles from the watering hole.

Mr Tran had swapped his flip-flops for a pair of hiking boots to make the trek, and the pair also took around six litres of water filtered from the drinking hole.

Ms McBeath-Riley said the plan was to stick together and walk only during the night and afternoon to avoid the punishing heat. 

Police eventually found Ms McBeath-Riley on Sunday after a tip-off from a local that he had spotted tyre tracks in an area they had not previously searched.

A timeline of how a group became stranded in the Australian Outback for two weeks: 

November 19: Alice Springs couple Tamra McBeath-Riley, 52, and Claire Hockridge, 46, and friend Phu Tran, 40, head out for a day trip when they ned up stuck in the dry Finke River

November 23: Ms Hockridge’s daughter reports her missing

November 26: A desperate search begins for the trip

November 28: The group run low on food and separate to go in search for help

December 1: The car is found by a helicopter. A short time later Ms McBeath-Riley is found alive near a watering hole

December 2: Mr Tran is found by pastoralist to the south of Alice Springs

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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