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Richmond backpacker Sam Woodhead found safe and well in Australia
A backpacker from Richmond lost in the Australian outback for three days has been found.
Sam Woodhead had failed to return to the cattle station he was working at after going on a run near Longreach, in central Queensland, on Tuesday afternoon.
Rescuers were amazed to find the 18-year-old gap year student a little sunburned but otherwise alive and well yesterday.
His miracle survival prompted tears of relief from family and friends who had feared the worst until a helicopter crew discovered him lost in the bush.
Close friend Catrina Brown, the liaison between his family and police, broke down and cried tears of joy when told he was safe.
She said: “Sam is an amazing, resourceful man so it's no surprise to us he's managed to be so strong not only physically but mentally and that he is now safe.
“We just want to thank all of the State Emergency Service (SES) workers and the police force out there, they have been amazing this whole time.
“We are just so grateful to them for everything they have done.”
The teenager’s mother, Claire Derry, 54, caught a flight to Australia and is due to be reunited with her son.
His sister Rebecca, an Edinburgh University student, turned 21 yesterday and had wanted only her brother's safe return for a present.
A search party of 200 volunteers, two helicopters, quad bikes and planes were dispatched and used night vision goggles to search for the former Brighton College student.
Conditions were so harsh the helicopter's crew treated four SES volunteers for heat stroke.
An Emergency Management Queensland helicopter found him he was taken to hospital.
Australian police said: “He is hydrated and suffering sunburn.
“He is being transported back to the property homestead where he will undergo a medical assessment before transportation to Longreach Hospital for assessment. His family has been advised.
“Due to poor communications we have no further information however we will endeavour to release more information when known. We have no information as to how the man was located or the circumstances.”