British teen survives 3 days lost in Outback


| Zoom

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - A British teenage backpacker drank contact lens fluid and his own urine to survive three days lost in Australian Outback scrubland in oppressive summer heat, his mother said Saturday.

Claire Derry reached the bedside of her 18-year-old son, Sam Derry-Woodhead, on Saturday at Longreach Hospital in northeast Australia, where he is recovering from dehydration.

She said she feared the worst while flying from London's Heathrow Airport to Longreach until she was told during a stopover in the east coast city of Brisbane that searchers in a helicopter had winched her son to safety on Friday.

"He'd survived on fluid from contact lenses and his own urine," Derry told Ten Network TV. He was sunburned and had lost 15 kilograms (33 pounds), she said.

Derry-Woodhead, who's from Richmond upon Thames, outside London, became lost in scrubland while jogging Tuesday near Upshot Station, a cattle ranch 90 kilometers (55 miles) from Longreach.

He had been working at the ranch for less than two weeks as a novice cowboy known in Australia as a jackaroo.

Temperatures reached 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) as around 50 searchers scoured the rugged terrain over three days. Two searchers received medical treatment for heat stroke.

Alex Wright, who was part of the crew that rescued Derry-Woodhead, said they were lucky to spot him through the trees 6 kilometers (4 miles) from where he became lost.

"We just happened to see him as he was crossing a clearing," Wright told Ten. "He's been dehydrated. Everything about him, all of his features, looked very sunken."

George Thomson, another rescue crew member, said Derry-Woodhead thanked them after being winched aboard the helicopter and asked for a popsicle.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Top Stories

  • Broken Record
    Kansas City fans reclaim the world noise record from Seattle

  • Another Way Across
    A group is pushing for a third route across Lake Washington for light rail

  • 9-Month Closure
    Businesses on the Seattle waterfront hope to survive a long upcoming closure
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from MyNorthwest.com
In the community
Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.