Susan O’Brien of New Zealand survived being lost in the forest by drinking her own breast milk overnight. She was racing in Xterra Wellington Trail Running Series in the Rimutaka Forest Park when she ran off-track and found herself trapped in the rugged bush for 24 hours.
Breast milk, dirt and thoughts of her family
O’Brien failed to finish the race by 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, The Dominion Post reported. Search operations started by 1 p.m. on Sunday but authorities failed to see her.
The search recommenced at first light on Monday. A helicopter with a heat-detecting device scoured the area. By 11 a.m., O’Brien was finally spotted by the rescue team.
She was able to survive the cold night by drinking her breast milk, eating dirt and thinking about her family.
“I thought that should help me keep going for energy. I thought I was going to die of hypothermia. I got lost and stuck in some bushes and I thought that was it,” she told One News.
“I got my way out and then followed the wrong triangles and then got cold. I wanted to carry on but was too exhausted. I dug a hole, I didn’t have a life blanket and thought I was going to die. I was thinking of my baby and my son and my family and my mum and dad and my husband. I just wanted to be with my family as quickly as possible. I thought no one was coming to get me – I’d given up.”
O’Brien was finally reunited with her family. In a statement, her family thanked race organizers, the police and the search and rescue teams for their efficient response.
“As a family we are extremely relieved and thankful that Susan has been found safe and well. Susan will be having some much-needed rest over the next couple of days.”
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