Couple drank own urine while lost in outback
A couple is lucky to be alive after they became stranded in the remote Australian outback with no food or water for two days.
Jose Merlos, 29, and his fiancee Nicky Wong, 32, walked more than 40km in the blazing heat to seek help after their car got bogged in the sand on January 3.
The pair, from the Adelaide suburb of Findon, were on holiday in Cairns when the South Australian government introduced a hard border closure with NSW in response to the latest virus outbreak in Sydney.
In a bid to get home without driving through NSW, the couple travelled inland from Cairns before taking rural backroads through northern South Australia.
But they found themselves in serious trouble after their car became bogged in the sand.
They abandoned the vehicle, leaving a note saying they would walk to Innamincka - a small town near the South Australian border with Queensland.
They had no phone reception and relied on a preloaded map.
The couple told the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) they walked for more than 40km in scorching heat with their dalmatian pup Loki.
A picture supplied by the RFDS shows the couple even resorted to scrawling SOS in the sand while leaving several notes along the route, urging passers-by to call emergency services.
But they got lost and feared time may be running out.
"It was so hot and we were scared, I thought we were going to die," Mr Merlos said, in a statement to the RFDS.
"My phone said SOS only, and I kept trying over and over again to call for help but the call wouldn't go through."
They resorted to drinking muddy water from a cattle trough and even their own urine, which Mr Merlos said he couldn't stomach.
"We hardly spoke while we walked because our mouths were so dry. We had little food left but we couldn't eat it because we had no saliva and couldn't swallow," Mr Merlos said.
"I was worried my fiancee Nicky wouldn't make it as she was needing more and more breaks to rest, and I had to beg her to keep walking."
Then, after another day in sweltering heat, they spotted a car approaching the pair.
Driving the car was Craig, a Santos worker who said he only took that route every six weeks. He had seen their notes, pleading for help.
"Craig told us he only took that road once every six weeks, and we had another 25km to walk to get to Innamincka. If he hadn't found us, we would have perished," Mr Merlos said.
Craig took them to town where they were given food and water and treated by the RFDS. After two days in recovery, the pair headed back to Adelaide.
RFDSSE nurse practitioner Chris Belshaw, who treated the pair, said they were lucky to be alive.
"Luckily for them, the temperature was lower than usual for this time of year and only in the mid to high 30s … usually it is 45 at this time of year," he said.
"If it was the normal temperature then I believe they would have perished."
Loki the dalmatian was unharmed.
"If we had to travel in the outback again, we would buy a satellite phone and make sure the authorities in the town ahead knew to expect us," Mr Merlos said.
Originally published as Qld holiday couple drank own urine while lost in outback