Fears are rising for an adventurous couple and their two young children who face being stranded in the desert for two weeks after their campervan got bogged.
‘Vanlife’ couple Orios and Lindsey Zavros and their children Zoe and Zane got stuck 150km northwest of Oodnatdatta, a remote town in outback South Australia.
The family-of-four set off an emergency locator device after rising floodwaters bogged their customised Mitsubishi Canter about 10am on Friday.
The Simpson Desert was flooded by a near-record amount of rain that police and locals worry could take up to two weeks to dry out.
‘Vanlife’ couple Orios and Lindsey Zavros and their children Zoe and Zane (pictured) are currently stranded in the Simpson Desert in outback South Australia
The family was careening across Australia since November 2020, with the modified vehicle taking them from the west coast of WA, across the south and east of South Australia, Darwin, and Queensland.
They documented their outback adventures in their ‘truck and home built camper’ on an Instagram account Trucking Oz.
The account boasts more than 4,000 followers with an accompanying YouTube channel also giving followers an inside look at the highs and lows of van life.
The most recent post signalled their arrival in Birdsville near the SA-Queensland border as well as their plan to cross the Simpson Desert.
‘After three days of driving, we made it! Bring on the Simpson Desert,’ it read.
Other posts show little Zane and Zoe enjoying a swim in Fraser Island, a paddle-board in the Whitsundays, and moments of everyday life in the van.
The family-of-four were forced to set off an emergency locator device after rising floodwaters bogged their customised Mitsubishi Canter (pictured) around 10am on Friday
The family (pictured) have documented their outback adventures in their ‘truck and home built camper’ on an Instagram account ‘Trucking Oz’ which boasts over 4000 followers
Authorities responded to the stranded family’s calls for help at 11am on Friday and have since delivered emergency supplies in a Challenger rescue plane.
‘Police and emergency services became aware at 10am Friday 12 November of a Mitsubishi Canter, 4 wheel drive vehicle that had become bogged in the Simpson Desert in the Far North of the state,’ police said.
‘The vehicle from Western Australia containing 2 adults and 2 children became stranded after bad weather and flooding on the roads.
‘A satellite phone has been dropped to the family and they are safe and well and in contact with the police. They have sufficient essential supplies.’
Police said as the weather improves SA Police will assess the best time to coordinate the recovery of the family and the vehicle.
Authorities will collaborate with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority for the rescue mission and have an aircraft on standby to deliver additional supplies.
A second drop of supplies will be delivered to the family on Sunday.
Posts on the family’s Instagram account shows little Zane and Zoe enjoying a swim in Fraser Island, a paddle-board in the Whitsundays and moments of everyday life in the van
Mr Zavros built the modified Mitsubishi Canter (pictured) the family calls home from scratch
Footage from the rescue plane shows emergency services parachuting the supplies to the bogged van below.
Recovery efforts on land have been hindered by bad weather with police statements estimating the family could be stranded for weeks.
‘Due to severe wet weather, roads in the area are flooded and inaccessible for several days,’ AMSA said.
‘The remoteness of the location is also hampering ground rescue efforts.’
The cold front responsible for the heavy showers hit South Australia on Wednesday, bringing gale-force winds and a near-record amount of rain.
The wild weather caused power outages in Adelaide and the Alberga River in the state’s far north to flow for the first time in 18 months.
The cold front responsible for the heavy showers hit South Australia on Wednesday, bringing gale-force winds and a near-record amount of rain
The most recent post on the family’s Instagram account signalled their arrival in Birdsville near the SA-Queensland border as well as their plan to cross the Simpson Desert (pictured)
Mr Zavros’ mother Theo told Seven News she was forced to wait for four hours after authorities initially relayed the news her family was in trouble.
She described the wait as ‘hectic and horrible’.
‘[Just] not knowing really what was wrong, whether the children were sick, whether it was an accident. We had no information whatsoever, it was horrible,’ she said.
However, Theo’s worries were soon put to rest after her stranded son told her ‘please don’t worry, we’re all okay.’
She said her son had built the modified campervan from scratch and described the vehicle as the pride and joy of the adventurous couple.
The family decided to travel Australia before their two young children started school and recently stated they had covered over 20,000km across three states.