UK & World News
Contact Lens Fluid Saved Missing Backpacker
The British backpacker who went missing in the Australian Outback for more than three days survived by drinking contact lens solution, his mother has said.
Samuel Woodhead, 18, disappeared on Tuesday after he set out for a jog from a cattle station in Queensland.
But the chance discovery of packets of lenses in his rucksack - put there by his father, Peter - kept him going in the scorching heat.
The teenager was said to be a little sunburned following his ordeal, but was hydrated and otherwise well.
His relieved mother Claire, 54, described how her son survived in the 40C heat.
"His father had packed boxes of contact lenses in his rucksack in an outside pocket and he'd forgotten to take them out," she revealed.
"He's lived on the fluid that the contact lenses ... you know the little packs of contact lenses? He's literally lived on those packs of contact lenses for three nights."
Relatives said the teenager, a keen long-distance runner, owed his life to rescue workers who launched a massive helicopter search of the desolate region after he was reported missing from Upshot Station, near the town of Longreach, on Tuesday.
Mrs Woodhead, who travelled out to Australia, said: "I've spoken to Sam on the phone and I'm flying out to Longreach."
She added: "I'm very, very relieved indeed. I've just had the worst three days of my life, and when I got the message from the pilot on the plane (that he had been located), I just cried."
The former Brighton College student, from Richmond upon Thames, in Surrey, is now in hospital.
Samuel's delighted sister, Rebecca, announced on Facebook that her brother had been found.
She wrote: "We have been told that they have found Sam!! We have no information on his condition or where he was found yet, so keep your fingers crossed."
She later said his injuries were no worse than "minor sunstroke, dehydration and chapped lips".
Earlier, Sam's father Peter told Sky News: "It's an incredibly exciting and happy ending to what's been a real nightmare. Our thanks go to all those who have joined the search, a lot of which have been volunteers in very hostile territory."