Australian woman alive after 17-day bush ordeal

Rescue teams search the area of the bush where Shannon Fraser went missing
Rescue teams search the area of the bush where Shannon Fraser went missing
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An AUSTRALIAN woman has been found 17 days after she got lost in the bush in northern Queensland with no food.

Shannon Fraser stumbled out of the bush on Wednesday morning, according to local media reports.

The 30-year-old had gone to the Golden Hole swimming spot with two men, including her partner, when she disappeared on 21 September.

She is now recovering in a hospital and is being treated for infected cuts and severe sunburn.

Ms Fraser’s companions first raised the alarm after she got separated from them and failed to return to their vehicle, Queensland Police said. The mother of three’s disappearance sparked a search operation involving 25 officers from the police and state emergency services.

Divers combed the pond while officers searched the area on foot and quad bikes. Helicopter searches were conducted as well, with search teams dropping coloured markers.

Family members said Ms Fraser had followed these markers out of the bush.

Police said she was eventually found 30 miles from where she had disappeared.

Asked by reporters why teams did not find her, country patrol group Inspector Rhys Newton said her movements had “gone out of what we could reasonably expect a person who is lost in those circumstances”.

A banana farmer who was having his breakfast spotted Ms Fraser when she came out of the bush at 8am on Wednesday, and immediately sent her to a nearby hospital, according to Australian media.

Family members told reporters that Ms Fraser had survived on creek water, small fish and insects.

At one point, she sat in a creek for three days to soothe her cuts and burns.

They also said she had to fend off wild animals, such as a cassowary and a freshwater ­crocodile.

Ms Fraser, who weighed 90kg previously, reportedly lost about 16kg during her ordeal.

Her partner, Heath Cassady, told a local paper that they had been on a “bender” prior to her disappearance and had gone to Golden Hole to “chill out”sober up.

“Her whole body is scarred and peeling, she’s been through a lot,” Mr Cassady said. “It is amazing she’s still alive.”

Police are still investigating how she disappeared, but a spokesman said yesterday they did not believe there were any suspicious circumstances.