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



Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

A CITY drenched in culture, Brisbane is again flaunting an arts and culture events calendar fit for a queen.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Date nights under $50

Nothing is more romantic than a picnic with a cracking view.

NOT every date has to cost you a bomb.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Six reasons to get to Brisbane this Autumn

The Brisbane Powerhouse has free comedy on Friday nights.

AUTUMN has to be up there with one of the best seasons of the year.

The best things to do in Brisbane are FREE. Yes, FREE

Mt Coot-tha is a seriously gorgeous way to start your day.

HEADING to the big smoke doesn’t have to come with a big price tag.

Council news at a glance

Roadworks are expected to cause minor delays over the next few weeks.

See what's going on around the Shire.

Take a walk along the Murwillumbah Art Trail

WORK OF ART: "Workers Store” acrylic on canvas by Scott McDougall, one of the artists featured in the Murwillumbah Art Trail.

Get to know Tweed's amazing artists.

Local legend of the land shares his Jersey herd

LIFE ON THE LAND: Murwillumbah dairy farmer Pat McDonald with some of his prized milking cows.

LIGHTNING literally struck twice for legendary dairy farmer.

Local Partners

Take a walk along the Murwillumbah Art Trail

The Murwillumbah Art Trail kicks off this weekend.

Model Bella Hadid's see-through dress shocks in Cannes

US model Bella Hadid attends the Cinema Against AIDS amfAR gala 2017 held at the Hotel du Cap, Eden Roc in Cap d'Antibes, France, 25 May 2017.

It’s like she’s become addicted to shock value.

No room for morbid fans

Chris Cornell.

Fans want to stay in the hotel room where Chris Cornell died

Star Wars' 1977 Stormtrooper head banger confesses

A Stormtrooper is responsible for the biggest blunder in a Star Wars movie. Picture: Supplied

Man in most famous blooper in Star Wars history breaks silence

Lyn's knock-out show gets her to next round on The Voice

ONWARDS AND UPWARDS: Lyn Bowtell is through to the battle rounds on The Voice.

'It was bitter sweet to win like that'

Dreamworld may supersize with 'Disneyland expansion'

Dreamworld could become a “more attractive and entertaining park”.

World’s strongest man reveals incredible 12,000 calorie diet

Brian Shaw won his 4th World's Strongest Man title. Source: Twitter

World’s strongest man reveals incredible 12,000-calorie diet

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

WATCH: Take a tour of a tradie's dream home

5a Bruce Hiskens Court, Norman Gardens, going for $720,000. INSET: Lea Taylor.

Huge block with potential for anything

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!