Family Stuck in Outback Rescued After 5 Days

Kids ages 2 and 3 were helicoptered to safety along with parents
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2021 10:44 AM CST

A family of four, including two children under the age of 4, have been rescued from Australia's remote desert just as temperatures were expected to top 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Perth couple Ori and Lindsey Zavros and their children, aged 2 and 3, set out a year ago to travel the country in a customized camper van, per Torrential rain and flash flooding happened to hit in an unwelcoming place: the Simpson Desert in South Australia's far north, some 90 miles northeast of the remote outback town of Oodnadatta. The family activated an emergency beacon around 10am Friday after their van became stuck. By Sunday, when authorities air-dropped supplies, including two teddy bears and a satellite phone, the family was more than eager for a rescue.

"After the first couple of days we sort of realized that we wanted to get out of there pretty quick," Ori tells Australia's ABC News, which reports the family had to conserve water while keeping their children, Zoe and Zane, entertained. "We were concerned that we might have got stuck there for a few weeks, worried about the heat." Because of impassable roads, police instead resorted to a "bunny-hop" rescue via helicopter on Tuesday, per Perth Now. It was "a logistics nightmare" because of refueling requirements, Ori's father, Theo, tells the outlet. ABC notes the family was "winched to safety just after 4pm" and eventually brought to Coober Pedy, some 120 miles south of Oodnadatta.

"It's been emotional, a bit of a rollercoaster, but we got through it," says Ori, who thanked police, search and rescue teams, and "all the people that sent out the beautiful messages." "It was an adventure" but "I wouldn't do it again," adds Lindsey. The couple—who've been sharing their adventure on Instagram, per the BBC—aren't turned off from the trip entirely, however. They say they'll find a way back to Perth for Christmas, then resume their exploration—once their van is recovered. There may be two more along for the ride: Ori's father tells Perth Now that the children have taken to their new toys, which they've named "Simpson" and "Desert." "They are always going to have those teddy bears," he adds. (More Australia stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.