Thu, Apr 05, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Asian tourists tell of ordeal of getting stuck in Outback

AFP, SYDNEY

Three Asian tourists who spent days stranded in the harsh Australian Outback said yesterday they had feared being attacked by dingoes and had a close encounter with a snake.

The travelers — a man and woman from South Korea and a woman from Hong Kong — were found on Tuesday by police in the Finke Gorge National Park, near the central Australian town of Alice Springs, safe and well.

They were marooned in the area — where temperatures reach 30oC — after their car got bogged on a sandy hill on Sunday. They waited two nights in the vehicle in the hope that someone would rescue them.

“We just, at first, waited for rescue and for two days no one came so we tried to walk to the main road,” 27-year-old South Korean Yoon A-reum said. “We walked 15km.”

The park in which they were found, about 140km west of Alice Springs and accessible only by four-wheel drive vehicles, is famous for its plant life, but is also home to unique native fauna.

“We saw the dingoes at night in front of our car so we made them scared and go away,” Yoon said.

However, with only three days of food and water, the trio decided to abandon the vehicle and attempt to walk the estimated 30km to the nearest main road.

“The day that we decided to walk we saw dingoes and kangaroos ... and then we saw a snake,” said Yoon, who said she had been lucky the reptile had fallen onto the path from a bush just after she passed by.

Australia is home to some of the most venomous snakes in the world, while native wild dogs, or dingoes, have been responsible for more than 200 attacks on people that caused injury over the past two decades.

“I just believe that they will not attack us in the daytime,” Yoon said.

The three, who are on working holidays, had left Alice Springs on Friday morning for Uluru, or Ayers Rock, and were due back at 7pm on Monday.

A friend raised the alarm when they failed to return.

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