Steven Van Lonkhuyzen and his sons survived 10 days in the Australian outback. Although they were exhausted, Steven, 37, Ethan, 7, and Timothy, 5, did not suffer any serious injury or illness.
The harrowing journey began with a wrong turn. Van Lonkhuyzen and his sons were taking a road trip near Expedition National Park when they became hopelessly lost. The situation was made even worse, as Van Lonkhuyzen’s vehicle became stuck in the mud.
Following the family’s disappearance, authorities conducted an exhaustive search. Unfortunately, Van Lonkhuyzen was in a remote area more than 180 miles from where he was last seen.
South West District Acting Superintendent Mick Bianci said Steven Van Lonkhuyzen tried to alert authorities to his location.
“He actually set out some hi-viz towels, spread them out on the ground around vehicle so it could much more visible in case an air search took place… He lit a fire to put up some smoke to attract anyone who was out there and saw the smoke and he sent out SOSs on the horn of his vehicle, but of course it’s remote and isolated. There was no one to hear it.”
As reported by News.Com.Au, Van Lonkhuyzen rationed food and collected fresh water when it rained. Thankfully, it was enough to keep he and his sons alive throughout the ordeal.
After 10 days in the wilderness, the father and sons were discovered by a local cattle farmer. Tom Wagner said he thought he saw Van Lonkhuyzen’s vehicle turn into the national park. When he heard about the missing father and sons, he felt like he “had to go and find them.”
Wagner said the land, which is adjacent to his property, is “rough country… massive and easy to get lost in.” However, he knew they needed his help. Using his quad bike to navigate the rough terrain, Wagner set out to find the family.
The cattle farmer said he eventually discovered a set of tracks, which led him to Steven Van Lonkhuyzen and his sons. Wagner said he was “surprised” to find them “fairly bright” and unharmed.
“The boys had their arms up, cheering, and dad was just relieved. They were fairly skinny, and had obviously lost a lot of weight… All the little fella wanted was some eggs, so I hope he’s got that by now and he should be happy.”
As reported by USA Today, Ethan and Timothy were taken to Taroom Hospital, where they are currently listed in stable condition. Steven Van Lonkhuyzen said the ordeal was frightening, but he is thankful that he and his sons survived.
[Images via News.Com.Au]