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A mother of four who went missing after taking a swim was miraculously found without serious injuries after more than a week. diegoparra/Pixabay


  • The 38-year-old woman was found alive in bushland more than a week after she went missing
  • Authorities said it was "miraculous" that the woman had survived the ordeal
  • A landowner came across the woman and brought her to the search and rescue group

A 38-year-old woman who was miraculously found alive eight days after she went missing in bushland in north Queensland, Australia, survived by drinking water from puddles, according to local police.

Rikki Leigh Mitchell went missing on May 2 and was last seen at a rest stop at Reid River located between Townsville and Charters Tower, Australian news outlet ABC reported. Police and Australia's State Emergency Service (SES) launched a search of the area Friday.

Mitchell and her partner had stopped at the rest area that afternoon for a swim, according to detective inspector Jason Shepherd.

When her partner went to visit a friend nearby, Mitchell stayed behind for another swim and a walk in bushland, which is uncultivated land covered with trees, shrubs and other vegetation.

When he returned, Mitchell was nowhere to be found.

"It's common knowledge that if you're out in the bush in the heat [with] little food and little water, that you can become disoriented quite quickly," Shepherd said. "I would imagine that she's then probably headed off in the wrong direction."

"She said that she kept walking and this morning she got to a point where she was able to hear the traffic, obviously from the Flinders Highway," he added.

Mitchell was eventually found by a local landowner, who drove her to meet authorities at the search party's command post.

The mother-of-four told authorities that she was able to survive in the bushland by drinking water from puddles.

Mitchell had cuts on her body but did not appear to have suffered from any serious injuries, according to Shepherd.

"She's obviously got signs that she's been out in the bush – she's got lots of scratches over her body, [and] her feet look like they're cut open and bleeding," he said.

Shepherd said that he was relieved Mitchell was found and marveled at the fact that she had survived the ordeal.

"I've got to be honest, the longer the search went, the less optimistic we were," Shepherd said, according to a report by 7News.com.au. "We're concerned from the start, but we're very concerned after seven days when people haven't been found – so it is miraculous."

This formally ended the land and air search efforts of police and SES volunteers in the area surrounding the Flinders Highway. Detectives had also been called in to help in the search.

"Some people are quite resourceful and are able to find a way through. We wish her well and I am so glad she was found alive and safe," Townsville SES group leader Greg Maloney said.

Maloney urged people who go bushwalking to carry an emergency communication device like a personal EPIRB, or emergency position indicating radio beacon.

"Even the most experienced bushwalkers can get lost," he said.

A 38-year-old woman who went missing for more than a week was finally found in north Queensland. Pixabay