Photo credit: Michelle Leech
A six day ordeal almost claimed the life of Mount Gambier woman, Brooke Phillips, last month. She was travelling with a cat and dog in an isolated region of the Australian Outback. After taking a wrong turn, her car was bogged down and she was unable to extricate it from the sand. She has now revealed how she survived the dangerous situation.
Having traveled unprepared for the punishing conditions, Ms. Phillips drank the only water she had with her on the first night of her ordeal. While she was able to collect a small amount of rainwater on the second day, soaring temperatures of up to 35 degrees Celsius made the vehicle unbearably hot.
While Ms. Phillips had a small number of grocery items with her, once these ran out she was forced to drain water from her windscreen wiper tank to use for drinking. On the last day, she reports, she ran out of options and drank her own urine. She says this may have saved her life.
A land and air search of the area was launched a few days after Ms. Phillips went missing, and she was eventually found alive but dehydrated by her teenage daughter and police searchers.
Police warn Outback travellers to be prepared
Seven people have lost their lives in the Outback in the last month, including hiker Kismatul Muzahi, motorcyclist Daniel Price and experienced prospector Ronald Potter, whose vehicle also became bogged in sand.
Western Australian Police report that there have been around 100 searches for missing people so far this year, with too many people underestimating the harsh environment and travelling unprepared. A minimum of three days water per person is recommended, as well as a personal locator beacon and basic tools for car repairs.