- And mostly thanks to Vodka, biscuits, and beef noodles.
Tamra McBeath-Riley, 52, and her partner Claire Hockridge, 46, began to drive from Alice Springs in Australia’s Northern Territory with their friend Phu Tran, and McBeath-Riley’s dog on November 19th. Days later they were reported missing to police after failing to return from the day trip.
McBeath-Riley was found that Sunday after authorities located the Mitsubishi Triton. According to the police, they had been traveling and were bogged in a river bed. Hockridge and Tran, both visiting from South Australia, were still missing.
As they continued to look for Hockridge and Tran, McBeath-Riley was taken to Alice Springs Hospital and treated for dehydration and exposure. McBeath-Riley reports not having eaten in five days. She says she is “worried to death” about Hockridge and Tran.
McBeath-Riley says they had stayed by their car for three days and tried to free it, but they eventually ran out of supplies. They had consumed six liters of water, 10 iced vodka cans, biscuits, and beef noodles they had brought with them.
Temperatures soared into the low 100s so the three dug a hole underneath the car for refuge. At night, due to the cold, they slept in the car and huddled together for warmth.
“Where we got bogged down there was no trees or anything,” McBeath-Riley said. “We tried many times to try to get out, but just couldn’t get out, so ventured forth to try and find some shelter and some water.” They did find a cattle watering hole to drink from, she said.
Northern Territory Police Superintendent Pauline Vicary said the three made the decision to split up a week after being stranded for a week and having gone through their limited supplies. “They had very limited food—they had a packet of biscuits and some beef noodles between them and that obviously didn’t last them very long,” she shared.
McBeath-Riley said she stayed behind with her Staffordshire bull terrier, Raya, because she said the dog wouldn’t have been able to make the long journey to the Stuart Highway that Hockridge and Tran were planning to get to. “The quickest way to get found was to walk, and it’s safer if there is two,” she added.
McBeath-Riley recalled that when she was rescued, she had assumed that her companions had reached the highway and been found. “To find out that’s not the case is worrying. I’m worried to death,” she says.
The North Territory Police deployed helicopters over Stuarts Well and Owen Springs to continue to search for Hockridge and Tran. Vicary says authorities believe that the pair has since been separated.