News

Rugby shorts and urine helped to save British backpacker

English backpacker Sam Woodhead, 18. Photo: Facebook
English backpacker Sam Woodhead, 18. Photo: Facebook

A BRITISH backpacker who survived three days in the Australian Outback drinking contact lens fluid and urine has described how his life was saved by a pair of old rugby shorts.

Sam Woodhead, 18, disappeared from a remote station near Longreach in Queensland last Tuesday after he set out for a walk about 4.30pm.

He was found on Friday afternoon after enduring three days in dense woodland, with little supply of water and temperatures pushing 40 degrees Celcius.

Mr Woodhead has sold his story of the ordeal to the Mail on Sunday with the proceeds going back to the organisations involved in his rescue.

He told the Mail on Sunday how he took off his clothes to make an SOS sign on the ground, however two helicopters which flew overhead on Friday morning failed to see the sign.

About 2.30pm local time another helicopter passed over and appeared to have missed him once again, however it soon turned around and collected an exhausted Woodhead.

"I asked the pilot afterwards and he said, 'the only reason we turned around was because we saw something fly up from the ground'.

It was a pair of my white rugby shorts that I used in the SOS sign," Woodhead told the Mail on Sunday.

"The crew had flown over and hadn't noticed the sign, but they were so low their rotors blew my shorts up into the air and that was what they saw. That was the reason why they turned around."

The crew told him the helicopter had only 15 minutes of fuel remaining.

Woodhead was taken to a hospital in Longreach, suffering from kidney damage and having lost about 12kg.

Doctors told him his hydration levels were so low he would not have survived for more than a few hours, the Mail on Sunday reported.

Woodhead told the paper he hoped to attend Sandhurst next year to become an army officer. He had set out for a walk from the ranch in Vergemont where he had been working, carrying a heavy backpack as training.

However he lost his bearings and could not make his way back to the ranch, although throughout the ordeal he was never more than about 8-9km away.

With only a litre of water, he told the paper how he survived on sachets of contact lens saline solution, and even tried drinking his own urine.

"I tried to drink it and took a glug. It was like the contact lens solution but ten times worse. I had to drink about three of the contact lens sachets afterwards just to get rid of the taste."

Although Woodhead was concerned the salt content in the saline solution could have done more harm than good, he believes drinking the fluid was what kept him alive.

Detective Sergeant Dave Perry told the paper he was astonished Woodhead survived three days with no water.

"He would have been dead by Saturday if we hadn't found him."

- www.nzherald.co.nz

Topics:  backpacker british editors picks outback



Dreamworld reopens after 6 weeks in limbo

Visitors go through the doors of Dreamworld on the Gold Coast, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016.

Every ride has undergone 'rigorous' program of testing

Captain's youth key to titles

Far North captain Nadi Canning is looking forward to leading the region in the Surf Life Saving NSW Interbranch Championships on the Central Coast this weekend.

2016 Surf Life Saving Interbranch Championships

No Murwillumbah ward specialist as changes flagged

Murwillumbah Hospital has no specialist pediatric on site.

Calls for funds to remain to care for children as admissions decline

Local Partners

Join charity for lift-off

Public meeting for people who want to form a group that will hold community events and raise money for the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.


Kernaghan's a 'boy from the bush' with a timeless quality

Country music singer Lee Kernaghan.

Lee Kernaghan is celebrating the 25th year of his breakthrough song.

Man builds playground entirely out of packing tape

Artist Eric Lennartson is in the process of completing his huge tape sculpture at the Ipswich Art Gallery.

VIDEO:And here's where you can play on it.

Cooly sings out for carols

Santa gets ready to skydive into the Coolangatta Christmas Carols on Sunday, December 13. Photo: Scott Powick Daily News

Santa dropping in for Christmas Carols at Coolangatta

Louis Tomlinson's tribute to late mother

Louis Tomlinson's new single is a tribute to his late mother.

Gong goes to M'bah duo

Dave Weir and Miya Sapir from Tupenny Opera performing in Mexico.

A night at the opera

Justin Timberlake stuns students with secret class

Justin Timberlake stunned high school students in Sydney

Carrie Fisher says Ford will be bugged by affair confession

Carrie Fisher is sure Harrison Ford is annoyed at her

Dakota Fanning rekindles romance with childhood sweetheart

Dakota Fanning rekindles romance with ex

Jennifer Lawrence apologises to the people of Hawaii

Jennifer Lawrence sorry for 'offensive' story

'Crucial' farm land eyed by defence department

Lawson Geddes moving the Brangus cattle to higher ground - which is the land the Defence Department is interested taking for the Shoalwater Bay expansion.

"You can't have one without the other.”

Former Shark Show for sale for $1.3 million

Vic Hislop at the old Shark Show.

TALK about a jaws-dropping real estate opportunity.

There's a whole lot of luxury in this home

The Endeavour Foundation's latest prize home in Mountain Creek.

WHEN it comes to desirable homes, it's hard to go past a prize home.

Horse haven on big acreage in Murwillumbah

55 Glencoe Road, Murwillumbah

Check out this week's feature property.

WATCH QTV: The highlights of your $150 million CBD

GRAND PLAN: The highlights of the Ipswich CBD redevelopment and where they will be located.

Work on city heart's radical transformation to begin next year

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!